Welcome to OpenAIR: Effecting Change, AIR’s first annual forum for our members. With over 17,000 members we are now the largest ever UK-based membership body for artists.

Today we ask our membership: how will you effect change?

Established in 2007, AIR’s mission is to be the voice of practicing visual and applied artists. Through discussion and debate, AIR identifies and explores the issues that impact on artists’ practice in order to campaign for artistic, legislative and economic measures to enhance artists’ working lives and advance their professional status.

Over the last 12 months we have formed alliances on behalf of artists with Scottish Artists Union, Axis, and Turning Point Network. We have also created international contacts through the European Council of Artists, the International Association of Arts and CARFAC. In addition, we are developing benefits for members with providers such as the Royal College of Art.

As a Council we base all our activity on your needs and opinions. To this end we undertake the Big Artists Survey each year, but today is a chance for you to talk to us directly about how you can effect change and what change you want to see happen. We are here to listen!

We all know that AIR provides artists with much needed insurance but together we can achieve so much more. We need you to become active in your regions, we want you to stand for Council and join us in the fight for visual artists’ needs.

Welcome to the Scottish Artists Union – AIR partner and collaborator in future research and campaigns for the benefit of all artists. Welcome to observers Julia Bell (National Coordinator of Turning Point Network) and Jayne Knight (Chair of a-n, Home Live Art and Suffolk County Council Arts Officer).

I would like to thank Firstsite, especially Laura Earley, Judith Stewart, the volunteer note takers and technical support and Kinura for providing today’s live webcast coverage. Special thanks also go to Lucy Day and AIR Council members Caroline Wright and Mitra Memarzia for all their hard work over the last seven months organising today.

Now is the time for artists to be proactive and define their own development and destiny!

One voice is just a whisper, but together we can ROAR!

Follow AIR on Youtube OpenAIR video highlights from Kinura Watch here 

Follow air on Twitter #OpenAIR

a-n.co.uk February 2012