About the Union

Why Join?

Why should I join the Scottish Artists Union?

Answer

The Scottish Artists Union is the ONLY representative voice for visual and applied artists in Scotland. Artists tend to work alone, individually we have little influence or political 'clout'. Together we can make policy-makers appreciate the needs and importance of artists in the Scottish cultural, social and economic scene.

On top of that you get free public liability and professional indemnity insurance, access to our free learning and professional development programme and a range of benefits

Funding

How does the Scottish Artists Union receive its funding?

Answer

Our core funding comes from our membership fees, these fund the work of our part-time staff and core activities. Some activity, such as our learning programme is funded by Scottish Union Learning.

Our Executive Committee members are all voluntary but we have the usual expenses for keeping the Union going.

Criteria

How do I join the Scottish Artists Union?

Answer

Firstly check if you fulfill the membership criteria. These are not difficult for most professional artists; even new graduates can usually fulfil these. You can access all benefits including insurance whether you are an Associate or Full member, only voting rights are restricted to Full members.

Criteria are necessary to give the Union professional status which in turn backs up our credibility when we speak on your behalf. You can complete the membership form here.

Dual Membership

Can I be a member of the Scottish Artists Union and another union?

Answer

Yes. Although this is not the usual case, your working practice may extend across different areas that are not served by a single organisation. It is your decision if you feel that you need additional representation.

However, you may have another occupation other than that of a professional artist, which would be best served by being a member of another union specific to that industry. (For example, working in film & tv or in education).

Scotland

Can I join if I live in the rest of the UK, EU or another country?

Answer

Technically we can only represent artists who live and or work as an artist in Scotland. (There are different legal and educational systems here).

However, an artist who lives elsewhere but who will be working on an extended arts project (more than 6 months) in Scotland can join for the year in which that work takes place. But we emphasise that our ability to represent you in any legal or similar way will only apply to the work you are doing in Scotland.

Exhibitions

Do you have members' exhibitions?

Answer

The Scottish Artists Union exist to represent artists politically and campaign on your behalf. It doesn't have a remit to exhibit members work and that is not its area of expertise. Other organisations exist to promote and showcase art work and specialise in running membership exhibitions. Please see the links section

Privacy

Do you give out information?

Answer

The Scottish Artists Union publishes information on the website relating to common issues that members face. We undertake research in areas of specific importance to artists and our reports on Rates of pay, Tax & Vat and Contracts can be found on this site.

We endeavour to assist members where we can, however due to the varied nature of artists’ work, we might not have the information, skills or resources to fully assist. In such cases, we will direct you to another organisations that are more suited to providing specific information on a particular issue. A list of useful resources can he found here.

Politics

Does the Union have any political affiliation?

Answer

No, we are completely independent of any political party.

Trades Union

Is the Scottish Artists Union a proper Trades Union or is 'Union' just a name?

Answer

The Scottish Artists Union is a recognised trade union that is registered with the Certification Office for Trade Unions and Employers Association and meets the requirements of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992. 

Links to Unions

Does the Scottish Artists Union have links with any other Trades Unions?

Answer

Yes, we have informal links with other Unions such as Equity, the Musicians Union, Scottish Society of Playwrights, BECTU, as well as the STUC.

Influence

What influence does the SAU have in Scottish politics?

Answer

The Scottish Artists Union's remit is to be vocal on political issues affecting artists. We work to have our voice heard in the most effective forums.

We lobby MSPs on cultural issues and we have had meetings with the Cultural representatives in all political parties. We have played an active part in responding to the Scottish Executive's Cultural Commission review and Culture Bill and attend meetings within the Scottish Parliament as representatives of visual artists.

We attend the Cross Party Group on Culture at the Holyrood and are on the Lobbying Register. At these forums we ensure that the needs and values of individual artists are articulated and not ignored. We are often placed alongside other representative bodies e.g. Musician's Union and Equity, and are therefore regarded as credible, representative voice for our members.

We are members of the Creative Industries lobbying organisation Culture Counts.

Creative Scotland

What is the Union's relationship with Creative Scotland?

Answer

We have no affiliation with or funding from Creative Scotland. We are in contact with Creative Scotland staff to monitor changes in policy and services and to the levels of support for individual artists and makers. We pursue any issues which give us cause for concern.

Equally we support Creative Scotland when their actions are in the best interests of artists.

Speakers

Does the Scottish Artists Union provide speakers or representatives for open days & conferences?

Answer

Yes. The Scottish Artists Union is interested to develop discussions and promote its work in the arts at a variety of regional events. The executive committee will consider all requests via the email address office@artistsunion.scot.

Social Media

Does the Scottish Artists Union have a Facebook or Twitter page?

Answer

Yes, please search for @ScottishArtistsUnion in Facebook or Click Here.

Follow us on Twitter: @SCOArtistsUnion.

And, you can now follow us on Instagram: @artistsunion.scot

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