News & events > Santas protest against unpaid gallery internships
17 Dec 2013

Santas protest against unpaid gallery internships


In Hyde Park, London a festively-themed protest against unpaid internships was staged at a prominent cultural institution. Protesters dressed as Santa Claus demonstrated at the Serpentine Gallery, as reported by the Guardian. The action was taken against advertisements the gallery had placed for unpaid work.

The festive protest was organised by campaign group Future Interns and the Precarious Workers Brigade. Santas held a large banner reading “All We Want For Xmas is Pay,” and gave out scrolls to passers by. These contained the original job postings, along with comments as to why the role should be paid, such as: “if you contribute to the running of an organisation, you are entitled to national minimum wage.”

Following the protest, the Serpentine Gallery has admitted it is in the wrong, saying: "The points you make are valid and we have listened to your protest. We take our responsibility as employers very seriously, and this advertisement is not in line with our current terms on volunteer placements." has a lot of readers in Asia and Europe who are involved in cultural management training and cultural policy, both as culture professionals and as students. Internationally, unpaid internships seem to be the norm in the cultural sector - what is your opinion?

Image: Campaign groups Future Interns and Precarious Workers Brigade protest outside Serpentine Gallery dressed as Santas | Future Interns on Facebook