Impact of COVID-19 on Visual Arts Workers: Survey Summary

Fol­low­ing emer­gency sec­tor sup­port mea­sures announced in March, CVAN and Earth­en Lamp devel­oped a sur­vey on the pan­demic’s impact on cre­ative practice

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Working in partnership with Artists’ Union England, a-n The Artists Information Company, ArtQuest London, AxisWeb, Curator Space, DACS, Engage, and Guild, respondents to this survey were asked about the impacts they were experiencing of the pandemic and related announcements.

The survey found that...

· 58% are worried about their ability to get future work.

· 44% of visual arts workers have permanently lost work since the announcement.

· 20% feel they are not eligible for support, related to diversity in forms of employment and complex income sources of respondents.

As key sector support organisations working to safeguard the visual arts in its broadest sense, we wanted to understand how to best to deploy our capacity and resource over the challenging weeks, months and years ahead.

For some the circumstances have prompted an emerging sense of community and collaboration, and for others the possibility of a new model and understanding of the sector and how to support it. Others were hopeful that there would be a broader discussion around the meaning and value of art to society, particularly given the messaging around creativity and participation as a coping activity. Feedback received suggested that the focus of support ought to be on the ‘rebuilding’ phase after the immediate crisis, with several respondents noting that medium-to-longer term challenges to practice and funding will be more significant than the current timeframe.

CVAN would like to say a huge thank you to everybody who joined forces in creating and distributing Impact of COVID-19 on Visual Arts Workers.

Knowing more through this research has helped CVAN coordinate our efforts, and lobby effectively for the sector. Through the findings of this survey CVAN have built an evidence base to advocate for artists and arts professionals in a position of hardship over coming months.

These findings were compiled by an independent agency Earthen Lamp. All findings from this research are presented in an anonymised way to the sector, policymakers and government bodies. Please note that the results will not influence decisions or support package that have already been announced by funders. If you have any questions or comments about this research, please contact