Gloves Off/Organising On

Join the artists’ union for 2 days of campaigning and organising as we get ready for a new year of art and politics with a workshop from Lancaster & Oxford-based workers' co-operative Seeds for Change and banner-making with artist Helen de Main.

On Wednesday 11 December, learn how to campaign effectively and explore practical methods to increase capacity and confidence in being more inclusive in group working contexts with Seeds for Change. On Thursday 12 December, create content and material for the first ever collaborative artists’ union banner with Helen de Main.

Gloves Off/Organising On will offer new ideas, tools and skills for taking action in creative, non-hierarchical and autonomous ways in order to lead union change by being more strategic and more sustainable. The focus of the course will be on how to work effectively within groups at both a national and local level, and how to live by values like freedom, equality and solidarity in how we relate to one another and in our activism.

Who is this for?

Artists who are fed up with an unequal and exploitative art world who don’t want to give up on art completely and want to get involved in union organising and work-based activism.

Open and suitable to all of our members (Graduate, Artist and Associate) who want to get involved in activism, union organising and developing new facilitation skills.

Artists who are making political and/or socially engaged artworks.

Artists who are worried about how their creative practice will survive the future and want to develop strategies and alternatives.

Those who want to explore the intersection between art and activism and want to learn more about the importance and effectiveness of value-based campaigning.

Why should I come?

Feel inspired and heard, author a campaign with fellow members and learn how to take the lead in campaigning for change.

Learn how to analyse the current situation, filter individual experiences into a collective set of key values and collaboratively develop and lead on a plan of action.

Author and create a union banner that expresses the values, ideas, hopes, and concerns of artists today.   

What is organising?

We all organise, it's something we do regularly, we organise our lives and make preparations for events or activities on a daily basis. But what does organising mean in a Trade Union context? The Organising Model is a long established, broad conception of how unions should recruit, operate, and advance the interests of their members. As a relatively new union, and one which is predominantly made up of freelance workers, we need to establish our own organising model led by artists and in-keeping with their working lives.

Do I have to attend both days?  

It is not compulsory that you are able to commit to the 2 workshop days but it is preferable. If we have a waiting list for places, we may prioritise those who are able to commit to both days.

Who are Seeds for Change?

Seeds for Change are a workers’ cooperative established in 2000 sharing skills for effective organising across groups campaigning for an ecologically sustainable and socially just world. They have worked with hundreds of groups offering training and workshop programmes for many large events and written over 40 guides to effective campaigning and co-operation. They have provided training for groups involved in a wide range of campaigns: from fighting road building projects, stopping GM crops, resisting coal mining and organising against fracking to fighting for community renewables and no borders. Seeds for Change work with organisations who endeavour to create alternatives to the exploitative system we live in, such as housing and workers' co-operatives, community growing projects and social centres.

Who is Helen de Main? 

Helen de Main is a visual artist living and working in Glasgow and current member of the artists' union Executive Committee. De Main graduated with a Master’s in Fine Art from Glasgow School of Art in 2008. Before that she studied Fine Art Sculpture at Sheffield Hallam University, England (1999 – 2002). Her work has been shown widely in the UK and internationally. Working in sculpture and printmaking, her practice often combines the two mediums within large-scale installations. Printing directly onto materials, including fabric and newsprint, the prints then become materials for creating objects. Her print based works are characterised by brightly coloured images, texts and graphics. Much of her imagery is appropriated from the media, highlighting an underlying interest in media representation, specifically in relation to women. In 2018, Helen worked with a group of women to create a banner for Glasgow Women's Library as part of PROCESSIONS, a UK-wide mass participation artwork which celebrated one hundred years of votes for women. 

Sounds great, how do I sign up?

RSVP via the event page here.
Spaces are limited and places will be allocated on a first-come-first-serve basis.

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