August 26, 2019
The Scottish Artists Union run a series of workshops and courses for members throughout the year...
This section looks at the take-up of the courses, and suggestions on what other workshops, courses and other learning opportunities members may benefit from.
Members were asked whether they had they had taken part in any courses and workshops in 2017- 2018. A total of 102 people responded to this question; a large majority (84%) had not attended training, with only around 1 in 7 (14%) attending courses throughout the year.
Those who had not attended a course were asked why. The most common response was lack of time; which resonates with the fact that many members are self-employed and/or do not have their art practice as their main source of income.
No time. Location not good. Working too hard!
The issue of time was closely followed by geographic constraints, a common issue for members who live outwith the Central Belt and in more remote areas of Scotland, compounded by ill-health or mobility issues for a small number of members.
There aren't any within practical reach, that I'm aware of.
Some talked of the courses not being relevant to their practice as a reason for not attending. Other factors stopping members from attending were a lack of awareness of the courses and course availability and/or popularity, for example courses being booked up quickly.
Lastly, some mentioned how due to their membership being new they had not been aware of the opportunities available to members but hoped to attend in future years.
I'm very new to Scottish Artists Union and am actually really keen to take up these opportunities going forward!
I have problems with mobility and would have to take too much time out to attend, for example, the event in Skye would have meant 4 days away, a day or evening in Glasgow or Edinburgh would mean 3 days away.
The available spaces for the course I was interested in went quickly before Icould get one.
I would urge the committee to continue to support the current learning activity as it's a great way to foster collaborative networks as well as offer new skills to artists.
Members were asked to make suggestions on what learning opportunities and training they would like the Scottish Artists Union to provide in 2018-2019. The most popular training suggestion was on skills relating to business. Examples included; marketing, managing finances, writing contracts, selling techniques, audience building, social media, website development, self-promotion, and writing funding applications.
Other suggestions included helping artists to develop their work/practice and technical skills, including writing, creative leadership, photography, ethics and community arts. Some made suggestions relating to peer learning, such as the provision of networking events to give members the opportunity to meet and learn from fellow artists, bringing the membership together and encouraging cross-collaboration and skills sharing. A couple of members suggested a group mentoring scheme, whereby a small group meet monthly to help push their practice forward and develop artistically.
"More about business and selling art commercially."
"How to promote myself in this age of social media without going mad. The best ways to get yourself out there."
"More information sharing opportunities would be good. Maybe some kind of networking events with guest speakers."
A small number of members suggested certified training or continuing professional development (CPD) type opportunities, and those from rural or remote locations suggested an option of attending training via Skype, or another online platform where appropriate.
"more attempts to bring the membership together and encourage cross- collaboration, skill share, etc. Perhaps facilitating workshops led by members for other members to attend would be good?"
"I think the subjects you are offering are fine, I just think a skype platform might be more accessible"