October Learning Newsletter

October Learning Newsletter


Welcome to the October edition of your union newsletter, a bi-monthly news bulletin of updates, events, opportunities and more.


The past few months have been a hive of activity here at the union HQ, with incoming survey results, the AGM, changes to the constitution, workshops and events and a burgeoning Fair Work Campaign. Thank you to all of our members who came to the AGM events in Inverness and contributed to workshops and discussions. We hope to keep those conversations flowing in the months ahead. We are busy compiling resources and toolkits from the writing motions and building campaigns workshops which will be made available to the membership shortly. 

Bart Waltz, special relationship, performed at Bread & Roses, August 2018  

We would also like to extend a huge thank you to all of our members who took the time to complete the annual members' survey. Your responses are invaluable. A report on the results will be published shortly but in the meantime, here are some highlights, on why it is important for artists to be members of a union. 

"I feel Unions are an important part of our democratic process, especially when representing groups of people that are otherwise underrepresented. Strength in numbers gives me a voice far greater than that of my own..."

"I've always been a union member in my various careers - being an artist is a job, and being a worker means, for me, being in a union."

"With each passing year, it becomes more apparent that a union for visual artists is essential. Increasingly our labour is expected gratis (or near as) and the fruits of our efforts are more vulnerable than ever to abuse and misappropriation."

"I strongly believe artists should group together to support each other. Being part of union helps to bring forward positive changes to support the sustainability and development of artists." 

So, we move, in strength, in solidarity, raising our voices and raising the roof towards "...getting things done together".


In Kind

Visual artists Janie Nicoll and Ailie Rutherford have released statistics gathered during In Kind; their research project mapping the hidden economies of Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art and the “below the water-line” economy of the arts. The project charted the unseen and unaccounted for efforts that enable the festival to take place, exploring the unpaid labour, mutual support, favours and volunteer hours that go into making Glasgow International happen.

Click here to read more about their findings. 

In Kind at the CCA
Fair Work

We know that artists and makers in Scotland earn on average less than £10k per year and face the challenge of unfair work practices and agreements across the sector. We are at the beginnings of a campaign to embed a Fair Work framework into artists' working lives through a series of workshops. The new pay rates and contract guidance materials produced will be used to organise & support our membership in challenging unfair work in their professional lives.

Click here to read more about the Fair Work Campaign and how you can get involved.

Brexit and the Arts 

The Scottish government is planning to create a new fund to protect cultural organisations from the impact of Brexit. The International Creative Ambition Programme is set to be unveiled in May 2019 and will support international cultural partnerships that develop new work and “support talent through international collaboration and exchange”. Make sure the voices of artists are heard amidst the conversations around protecting culture after the UK exits the EU by completing the Brexit and the Arts survey here


...for our festive event with SCAN and Engage Scotland on Thursday 6 December 2018. The launch of the Visual Arts Manifesto in December 2017, continues to shape how we face the challenges of precarity and the need for change, sustainability and diversity in the sector. The focus of the event will be on how to develop and adopt ‘Dignity at Work and Discipline’ policies, recognise our own power and our collective power as well as accepting risk and giving up power, building solidarity and placing EDI issues on the highest priority agenda of arts organisations. 

There will also be a Christmas Party once we have done the work for the day! Details on the programme and venue will be released in early November. 


cliche, correspondence, strategy, surgery
18 October, 23 October, 25 October, 1 November 2018 10:30am-5pm
Roseangle Arts Cafe, 132 Perth Road, Dundee, DD1 4JW 

Booking is now open for a four-day intensive course in how to develop approaches and methods to write about your work. Learn to adapt the way you express your practice across many different contexts and purposes from strategic writing for funding applications and exhibition proposals, to the more imaginative writing for artist statements and idea-based texts, to oral representation at artist talks and studio visits. This course acknowledges the shifting purpose, materiality and application of written material and will teach strategies to navigate and adapt to this. Delivered by arts writer and journalism lecturer Moira Jeffrey, poet and writer Daisy Lafarge and artist and writer Suzanne van der Lingen. This course includes an open surgery to undertake and complete a writing project of your choice. Participation on all 4 days is preferable. 
For more information and how to book contact [email protected] 

Finance for Freelancers
3 December, 4 December 2018 6-9pm
The Briggait, 147 Bridgegate, Glasgow G1 5HZ

An ‘everything you need to know’ course on how to manage the business side of your freelance career aimed specifically at artists. The course will cover types of self-employment, financial regulations, financial aspects of freelancing and how to make the most of what you earn and manage losses and debt. There will also be an open day for freelancers to complete their tax return in a comfortable and supportive environment with experts on hand for queries.
For more information and how to book contact [email protected] 

Monthly Union Executive Meetings 
17 October 2018 7-9pm
The Briggait, 147 Bridgegate, Glasgow G1 5HZ

The Executive Committee meets ten times per year to oversee all aspects of the union's activities, including finance and compliance, learning and development, and campaigns and membership. Any member can attend as an observer and we strongly encourage all members to do so. If you are interested in attending a meeting, perhaps in advance of joining the committee or to be involved in the running of your union, please email learn[email protected].

Get The Picture: Culture, Health and Wellbeing
20 November 9am-4pm 
John McIntyre Conference Centre, University of Edinburgh 
Pollock Halls, 18 Holyrood Park Road, Edinburgh EH16 5AY

Join with health charities, other voluntary and community health organisations, health boards, health and social care partnerships, local authorities, culture trusts and arts organisations in a timely exploration of the relationship between culture, health and wellbeing. Click here to book a place. 

STUC Conferences

22nd Annual Black Workers Conference 2018
7 October 9am-1pm 
Golden Jubilee Conference Hotel, Beardmore Street, Glasgow G81 4SA

91st Annual Women's Conference 
30 October 9:30am-5pm
Caird Hall, City Square, Dundee DD1 3BB 

15th Annual Disabled Workers Conference 
18 November 9am-1pm 
Golden Jubilee Conference Hotel, Beardmore Street, Glasgow G81 4SA

If you would like to attend any of the STUC Conferences, please email [email protected]

The learning programme is funded through the collective provision of the Learning Fund from the STUC Scottish Union Learning, to deliver learning opportunities in the workplace and alternative locations for a variety of sectors. 


We are looking for your contributions to the artists' union blog. Do you want to initiate a conversation, write an article, share an opinion? Send submissions to [email protected] with 'Blog Submission' in the email subject.   

Reading & Watching This Month 

Falling in Love With Data 
Useful Facts Compiled by Culture Counts
Whoever heard of a black artist?
Department for International Trade launches public consultation on post-Brexit Trade Agreements
Creative Industries Federation EU & International Working Group Notes
Read our submission to the Culture Strategy
Fiercely Productive Practices 
Culture, Human Rights & National Wellbeing 
Lois Gray, Mentor for Working Women, Dies Aged 94

Get the most out of your membership and book on one of our courses, workshops and events - learn, meet your union officials, network with fellow members, and find out more about the union and its activities. Come to visit us, tell us about your projects, pop in and say hi at the union HQ, The Briggait, 147 Bridgegate, Glasgow.  

Yours in Solidarity,

Scottish Artists Union


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