On Wednesday 6 October AIR: Artists Interaction and Representation launched its programme to develop a modern, inclusive infrastructure for artists’ representation.

The event took place at DACS (Design & Artists Copyright Society), 33 Great Sutton Street, London.

AIR has attracted over 15,000 members since 2006 – providing them with professional benefits and support. It’s now time for AIR to fully adopt the frameworks that will ‘give voice’ to its members, enabling artists wherever they are and whatever their practice to fully participate in debates and campaigns to enhance the working lives of artists and advance their professional status.

AIR Council member Rob Kesseler outlined AIR’s mission. He said: “Right from the outset, AIR has put artists at the centre. Our aim is to identify and explore the issues that affect artists the most – both legislatively and economically. We are a transparent organisation fit for the 21st century.”

Guest speakers included Alex Meszmer, First Vice-President of International Association of Art (IAA) Europe and National Committee of IAA Switzerland. Alex spoke of the need for a unified, international approach to artists advocacy. He said: “It is absolutely necessary to form a european union of artists. These are issues not limited to just one country.”

AIR Activist member Katriona Beales gave a passionate speech on the role of the artist within a cultural ecology. She commented: “I believe it is much like the role of Apis Mellifera, better known as the Common Honey bee. As artists move across and in-between cultures, socio-political topographies, and virtual and real environments – much cross-pollination happens. New ideas are born, and society benefits from the fruit of those.”

At a time when the arts and many artists’ livelihoods are under threat from harsh government cuts, the event served as a resonant role call for the challenge that lies ahead.

Download AIR’s policy for representation here

Read Katriona Beales’ blog post Apis Mellifera 

a-n.co.uk September 2010