Together We Will
The visual arts sector is still in the process of managing the far-reaching impact of COVID-19, but we have already seen how the immediate economic effects of the pandemic have amplified prevailing structures of inequality and unsustainable working conditions. Alongside small organisations, freelancers and young people; Global Ethnic Majority, disabled and neurodivergent artworkers have been disproportionately affected. Due to embedded working practices that rely on precarious employment and low pay, the visual arts has a history of systematically favouring those with a higher socioeconomic status in accessing opportunities. At the same time, established organisations still need to address wider institutional policies and practices that allow the continuation of unfair treatment.
In 2021, Visual Arts South West invited artworkers in South West England to develop new best practice guidelines for our professional community. To address long-standing concerns, four Artworker Advisory Groups collectively developed new recommendations for best practice to increase equal access to the visual arts, and to foster more inclusive, fair and hospitable working cultures. The groups focused on experiences of Global Ethnic Majority, disabled and neurodivergent, LGBTQIA+ and young artworkers.
The Best Practice recommendations are a supportive framework for us as a region to bring tangible, long-term change to our sector by making our organisations’ governance, employment conditions, programming practices and professional development opportunities more inclusive, accessible and hospitable.
The recommendations cover:
- Organisational cultures
- Employment and pay
- Professional development
- Application processes
- Developing connections
Together We Will event
The Reset: Recovering from the COVID-19 Pandemic
In collaboration with CVAN, The Reset series was a selection of webinars exploring the effects of COVID-19 and how the visual arts sector can safely recover from it, including presentations by Sarah Munro and Sally Shaw, Matthew Burrows, and Rachel Dobbs and Glen Stoker. Listen back a selection of the series below.
The Reset Webinar: Support Networks for Curators
The Reset Webinar: Euella Jackson and Kamina Walton on Allyship
The Future Proof Series
On 20th September 2019, we invited artists, curators, arts organisations and audiences to gather for a day of discussions and learning. This event (titled 'Future Proof') had the goal of identifying and addressing key challenges of our region while establishing collective survival strategies for the future in perpetually changing conditions.