We’re undergoing a whole raft of changes which are focused on delivering a carefully blended combination of appropriate benefits to our members – here’s an update:
They say all good things come to those who wait. Our projected dates for the new site have inevitably slipped a little so we're inching into July to deliver our 'good things'. Later this month we'll be letting you know about any technical issues that might affect how you engage with our site, keeping you informed about how it's all progressing.
We're delighted to have been able to support 23 artist members to attend Venice Biennale with our Go and See bursaries - a much sought after opportunity with over 90 applications. Look out for news of their networking and reviews of artworks encountered that will be posted on the site.
With Degree Shows Guide 2013 now published, in June there'll be Signpost - stepping out as a new artist. A new online publication, providing recent visual and applied arts graduates with relevant information, insights and advice as they negotiate the first few years out of higher education, edited by artist and lecturer Anna Francis.
Also, you'll soon be the first to hear about the results of the Paying Artists Survey that over 1000 contributed to, prefacing the campaign to improve good practice and encourage an increase in artists' income levels.
The brand new www.a-n.co.uk is coming in June! A professional social environment for conversation, collaboration and connections, with much improved user-interface that firmly puts you at the centre and makes a strong move away from the 'structured library' approach taken currently. Search and filter supported by tags will make navigating our resources much easier and social tools will help bring the content and community to life. A dashboard-like entry point will let you organise your own routes into content and prioritise the tools you use most. We're really excited about this big development that responds to the changing needs our members.
Following on from the Re:view Bursaries offered in March that increased our direct support to artist members and saw over £20,000 awarded, this month we've Venice Go and See bursaries on offer to enable more artists to benefit from the networking opportunities and professional development that a major event like the Venice Biennale can offer.
Look out for Degree Show Guide 2013 coming 1 May. A unique snapshot of the UK's art and design degree shows aimed at arts professionals and collectors, edited by Chris Sharratt.
Despite the 1% cut in revenue funding for 2013/14 we're pushing on with all our developments and will be ensuring that the impact of this isn't passed on to members.
In recognition of the harshness of the economic environment particularly for practitioners we're increasing our direct support to artist members through the Re:view professional development bursaries to help move practice forwards. Alongside this we're encouraging more galleries to support our critical writing bursaries creating opportunities to write.
The first phase of a-n and AIR's Paying Artists Campaign is underway with a UK-wide survey exploring artists’ experiences of exhibiting their work in publicly-funded venues. Creating evidence around the value of artists is vital to the work we do, find out about the Dangerous Ground artists consultation which took place recently at Castlefield Gallery, part of the Cultural Value Initiative with a-n, Warwick University and MMM working in partnership.
We're getting whisperingly close to realising our plans for the new website – a professional social environment for conversation, collaboration and connections. Its functionality is all mapped out and programming is underway and on course for launch late Spring. Also on course for late Spring is the annual Degree Show Guide 2013 squarely aimed at art professionals and collectors with a focus on finding new talent and buying work.
The first of our consultation and co-development sessions happens in Birmingham on 1 March designed to bring our constituency of artists together to tell us how we can support practice in future and for collaborations on new resources, tools and platforms.
To host an event, support our bursaries or collaborate on our new developments just email us at email@example.com
During 2012 we launched two new things – a-n News and affordable insurance for our Arts organisers. In response to need and aspiration, we piloted and honed our specialist programme of professional development opportunities for artists and arts organisers with an established practice. We worked through partnerships including with Castlefield Gallery, Engage, Guardian Culture Professionals Network and WEYA - a smart way to do more for our community.
Looking ahead to 2013, we’re not over promising. It’s not going to be ‘bigger and better’ but a steady, thoughtful, iterative development of our online platforms for conversations and collaborations amongst members. These with our personalised programmes are designed to support, to respond to and anticipate the changing, professional and interpersonal needs of our communities.
Importantly, the AIR Council is leading vital evidence-gathering into paying artists and artists’ pensions commencing in January, both crucial within campaigns to raise the economic and professional status of artists. Forthcoming are consultations with artists within our Navigator partnership and also with the Cultural Values Initiative. Look out for AIRTIME events - for artists and new graduates – around the country.
More for Arts Organisers
Responding to the needs of arts freelancers, a new benefit for arts professionals has been negotiated with specialist arts insurance broker Hencilla Canworth. Tailored especially for a-n, Arts organisers will be able to get £1m Professional indemnity and £5m Public and products liability cover for £94.50. There will be a launch in Brighton with Dany Louise, author of Ladders for development and Realising the value and specialist advisor for the scheme on Thursday 29 November. For more information about our launch event or to book a place please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The new benefit responds to the needs of a changing arts ecology, where increased freelance working has led a demand for tailored insurance coverage for those working in art consultancy, curating, commissioning, project management and research.
Also new for Art organisers is a dedicated Jobs and opps researcher focusing on sourcing and posting timely and relevant vacancies.
More from partnerships
a-n and Engage - the National Association for Gallery Education - have forged a strategic partnership based on mutual interest in supporting professional development for their members and the visual arts sector. Immediate benefits will include reduced membership rates and reciprocal publishing of specialist resources that support professional development. New resources and professional practice opportunities for artists and arts professionals are being explored for the future.
Claim £5 discount on an Engage individual membership (normally £42) More details
The first part of our new website new.a-n.co.uk/news has been well-received and is fast becoming the place to find an alternative insight into what’s happening in the arts now. Led by News editor Chris Sharratt, UK-wide coverage has featured events, conferences, biennials, cultural policy, artist-led and independent activity. a-n News (@an_artnews) already has a twitter following of 10,000 which demonstrates how quickly it has been picked up. Numbers continues to grow as we publish stories each day. Members receive regular a-n News bulletins as a convenient route into all the latest news.
We continue to provide all of the good things you have come to expect from a-n + AIR including insurance and artists' advocacy and campaigns, a wide range of professional resources including the daily-updated Jobs and opps service (often quoted as the number one place to look). Remember we offer members a range of timely mechanisms for finding out about the latest Jobs and opps, you can receive daily or weekly email updates or updates via twitter (@an_jobs_opps).
The monthly digest is a member-only email which delivers highlights of new content added to a-n.co.uk. It provides the latest news, features and research with selected reviews and blogs, the digest offers routes into vital reading and resources. And for those still attached to a more page turnable feel – we’re currently looking into digital options for delivering something in this form.
Work also continues on other aspects of the new website, members will see a phased introduction of new areas in a radical repositioning of our online presence to better stimulate and support the sector. One of the most exciting areas under development are new tools for collaboration, development and making and finding work planned for introduction in 2013.
Better professional development
We’ve already been reaching over 500 artists annually through our monthly AIRTIME events and as we move forward, we’ll be working with our partners including Castlefield Gallery and Contemporary Art Society to provide a richer face-to-face, targeted professional development programme.
Our crowdfunding pilots showed that 83% of those who took part found the interactive seminar format we’ve devised extremely or very useful, so look out for more of these around and about. And after the Collaborate creatively workshop at Nottingham’s World Event Young Artist 2012 – where artists came together to fine-tune their understanding and working practice of collaboration – this topic will be integrated into our professional development portfolio.You’ll automatically hear about our events in your area if you’re a member www.a-n.co.uk/subscribe
As far back as 2001/02, a-n began partnership working as an intelligent solution to sharing and extending knowledge whilst maximising resources and impact and achieving mission. We’re making more use of than ever of our partnerships now, to create direct benefits for members, enhance content and move into new arts territories.
Navigator Artworks is a three-year partnership between a-n, Artquest, Engage, Foundation for Community Dance, National Association of Writers in Education and Sound Sense on a participatory arts research and development programme funded by Paul Hamlyn Foundation. In April, we jointly published the Artists working in participatory settings. In September, a-n, Artquest and Engage ran two artists’ labs to explore how to enhance working relationships between artists working in participatory settings and employers, including addressing what tools and methods could better support professional practice and training in future.
a-n and Engage - the National Association for Gallery Education - have forged a strategic partnership based on mutual interest in supporting professional development for their members and the visual arts sector. Immediate benefits will include reduced membership rates and reciprocal publishing of specialist resources that support artists professional development. New resources and professional practice opportunities for artists and arts professionals are being explored for the future.
We’re formalising our long-standing relationship with Arts Development UK (AD:uk) and will be working on common areas of interest including good practice, professional development and training that brings together artists and arts managers and research and advocacy. We’re running a breakout session focusing on the Code of practice on October 19th at their annual conference.
On the research front, in June we began to get involved in the international Cultural values initiative led by University of Warwick that offers “a space for international, collaborative, critical, radical, cross-disciplinary and cross-sectoral explorations of cultural value”, charged with bringing the artists’ perspective into the fold of policy debates.
Alongside is an exciting collaboration under development where we’re working with Mission Models Money, Guardian Culture Professionals Network and Artsadmin to create Alternative Futures – a set of online debates featuring artists and arts and cultural organisations who are helping to bring about a more liveable world.
Keep an eye on this page to ensure you're amongst the first to hear news of latest developments!
First published: a-n.co.uk April 2012
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