Our Members Views on Brexit

Our Members Views on Brexit


We attended the recent Cross Party Group on Culture's meeting on Brexit and the cultural sector.


The CPG on Culture was held on Tuesday 25 September 2018 between 5.30pm-8.00pm at the Scottish Parliament in Committee Room 2. The meeting was entitled Connection: Impact of the Referendum on EU Membership on Scotland’s cultural sector.

Our Finance & Projects Manager, Gordon Dickson represented the Scottish Artists Union. Here are his notes he used to contribute to the discussion as part of the session. 

Impacts of Brexit

We survey our members each year. This year we asked two questions regarding Brexit. "Two years on from the Brexit vote, what has the impact been on your practice?" and "As 'Brexit Day' approaches what impact do you think leaving the EU will have on your future plans in relation to your work?"

Individual Impact on our Members

EU Citizens living and working in Scotland and the freedom of movement and opportunity abroad.

“Living in Scotland as the spouse of an EU Citizen, makes me feel somewhat insecure, given the unreliability of the Home Office.”

European Suppliers

Members already seeing costs of materials from rest of EU suppliers increasing. There is a concern this will become worse or impossible after Brexit.

“European suppliers increased prices by 10% citing Brexit to my framer, who then pass those costs onto me.”

Selling to Europe

Brexit may see increased costs in selling work to EU.

“It will make it harder for me to ship work to clients in Europe, and I will have to charge them extra import/export fees.”

European Funding

Members fear the end of working on pan-EU projects, collaborating across borders with artists in other countries. Also, concern about the perception of UK as withdrawing not juts from EU but from collaborating with others.

“It will make it more difficult to take up opportunities in Europe or collaborate with artists and institutions in Europe, so not great in terms of professional and artistic development.”

EU and Highlands & Islands

Great concern in H&I as lots of arts funding comes from EU, putting at risk the whole cultural sector.

“Based in the H&I much of our infrastructure has been reliant on EU funding; Therefore I can see less support for culture and the arts.”

Economic Uncertainty

Members are already seeing an impact on the market for their work. Brexit’s impact on the woodier economy means less artwork being bought.

“Sales in this area have plummeted, galleries are closing down.”

Uncertainty in General

Because there is still so much uncertainty around Brexit, many find it difficult to prepare for it or identify what the impact may be.

“I have been working hard to develop connections and relationships with artists and curators in Germany & France, and I am very concerned that Brexit has undermined these connections, especially opportunities for EU funding.”

Our colleagues at the Scottish Contemporary Arts Network are conducting a survey of their own on the impacts of Brexit on the visual arts in Scotland. Find out more here.


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