a-n was founded in 1980 as Artists Newsletter, a grassroots 500-copy-a-month publication offering practical support to visual artists. In its 40 years, a-n has grown to become the UK’s largest artists’ membership organisation, representing more than 21,000 practising artists and lobbying on their behalf through high-profile campaigns, such as the Paying Artists campaign and sector-wide guidance.

To mark our 40th anniversary year, we have produced a new series of Artists Newsletter publications alongside a specially-commissioned series of interviews with artists from the a-n archive, titled 40 Years 40 Artists. This year-long programme of activity delves into the rich history of the a-n archive, while also exploring the issues, ideas and areas of practice that are important to visual artists today.

Artists Newsletter

We have commissioned four new online editions of Artists Newsletter, each focusing on a different decade of a-n’s history. Published in January 2021, Artists Newsletter #1 is guest edited by members of the Birmingham-based collective Black Hole Club and explores topics from artists’ working rights and identity politics, to activism, digital arts practice and accessibility.

Future issues will explore current challenges affecting women artists, with a focus on less visible and precarious practices; art collectives and how artist groups have shaped the current art world; and the impact of social media on artists’ practices in the last decade. Guest editors include Catherine Bertola and Rosie Morris, Shy Bairns and Holly Willats.

40 Years 40 Artists

40 Years 40 Artists is a specially-commissioned series of conversations with artists that feature in a-n’s archive. Conducted by writer Louisa Buck, the interviews chart a-n’s evolution over four decades, providing insight into a broad spectrum of artistic careers, and reflect on issues past and present.

The first set of interviews focus on artists who came to prominence in the socially and politically turbulent 1980s and whose work engaged with urgent issues of the time, including LGBTQ+ rights, the miners’ strike and riots against institutional racism and unemployment. Featured artists include Sunil Gupta, Lis Rhodes, Antony Gormley, Magdalene Odundo, Richard Wilson, Anne Bean, Chila Kumari Singh Burman, Keith Piper, Mona Hatoum, and Brian Catling.

a-n at 40

London-based Norwegian artist Maria Hatling was selected from an open call to a-n members to create the celebratory 40th anniversary logo. Complementing the celebrations, this year a-n’s membership offer also includes the opportunity for members to apply for one of five Artist Bursaries in partnership with Liverpool Biennial. We will also launch a new legal service, giving members access to a free legal and tax helpline, resources and workshops.

Artists Newsletter and interviews with artists are available to read at a-n.co.uk/an40

Not yet a member? Find out more and join a-n today