The General Election on 12 December is a chance to highlight some of the issues facing members today and make the case for supporting visual artists.
Working with you and Artists Council we are continuing to develop our advocacy strategy for the next five years. We have developed a brief toolkit to help artists make the most of the opportunity that the election presents for building greater political and public understanding of the issues we now face.
It sets out four key messages, which, together, form a simple but strong narrative which makes the case for visual artists by first making the case for visual art itself. These are:
- Visual arts and artists are a key part of UK society and our economic success story.
- Visual arts and artists are a vital part of the success and vibrancy of this constituency too.
- Visual artists are a fundamental part of this success.
- The local and national contribution of the visual arts is under threat because artists face major challenges.
The toolkit provides evidence for this, including that the visual arts sector employs 37,000 and creates £1.9B Gross Value Added (GVA). The visual arts sector also delivers bigger returns on public investment than any other artform.
It also illustrates that arts and culture combined equals just 0.1% of government spending in England and deliver more benefit per pound invested than the health, wholesale and retail, and professional and business services sectors.
Also included is info on the impact of a no deal Brexit on the 12% of artists with non-UK passports and more than half the artist population who travelled abroad up to six times in last 12 months for work.
The toolkit offers ideas for communicating these messages and a sample letter/script for using when communicating with candidates. It also provides advice on organising a local publicity event, making the most of social media, and looking for local hustings events.
Finally, it suggests building as many of the above activities as possible into a plan which covers the period up to 12 December. Advocacy is an iterative process and you need to find as many different opportunities as you can to get your messages across and make sure they stick!