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Artists Union England

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Support and advocacy for artists

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In these uncertain times, it's more important than ever for artists to have sources of advice and support. In this session Theresa Easton and Anthony Padgett will talk about how Artists’ Union England has been supporting artists through the pandemic and beyond, including their activities in the North West.

Until recently, unlike other cultural professionals, artists had no trade union to represent them at work and to lobby and advocate on their behalf. Artists' Union England was set up in 2014 to fill this gap, as a trade union for professional visual and applied artists and artists with a socially engaged practice. The Union aims to represent artists at strategic decision-making levels and positively influence the value and role artists play within society, challenging the economic inequalities in the art world by negotiating fair pay and better working conditions for artists and promoting models for good practice. The Union aims towards consensus decision-making and wants to encourage an active grass roots membership.

The Union recently launched the Good Practice Charter for Artists, a set of principles that cover freelance artists' working conditions. The principles include good health and safety, valuing and rewarding artists, workers collective voice, equality & diversity, social responsibility and mental health. It has also launched a solidarity fund for members in need.

Theresa Easton is Regional Organiser with AUE building union capacity and an activist network in the North. Theresa sits on regional Trade Union Congress committees in the creative and lesirue industries committees (Yorkshire & Humber and Northern Region). Based in Newcastle, Theresa is a printmaker with an interest in artists books and a socially engaged practice.

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