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Assembly Leeds
Thursday 29th & Friday 30th June 2017

For the final of the a-n Assembly events taking place during May and June this year, we will be visiting Leeds. Working in collaboration with East Street Arts, Assembly Leeds will be hosted at Patrick Studios, a bespoke venue for artists and headquarters of East Street Arts.

After nearly a decade of austerity there is simply less and less money to go around in the arts, however this does not seem to have stunted the growth of the creative sector. Artists continue to carve out new opportunities for themselves but the question remains of how we all make it work both emotionally and financially.

Assembly Leeds explores the theme of resilience with a special day-long event, curated by East Street Arts, that seeks to bring people together to share stories, insights and experiences on how we survive and thrive in the arts. This session will be complemented by the chance to attend professional development opportunities (with tea and cake!) brought to Leeds by the wider a-n team.


Thursday 29th June

Ask a-n – advice and guidance surgery
10am - 12pm
East Street Arts, Patrick Studios, St Mary’s Lane, Leeds, LS9 7EH

This drop-in session will help you gain information and tips from artists and experts. Meet and network to find out about a range of strategies to support artists’ livelihoods.

Topics include a-n’s Paying Artists campaign and fundraising, alongside Q&As with Mike McCormack from a-n’s insurance partner Hencilla Canworth. Lucy Day, Director of A Woman’s Place Project CIC and a curator with many years’ experience developing exhibitions in private, public and artist-led spaces will also be on hand to answer your questions on proposing work for exhibition, pricing your work, and working in the public realm.

Come and meet the team and tap into a-n’s 35 plus years of knowledge and experience, and chat to some of our expert advisors over a cup of tea and cake.

a-n is the largest artists’ membership organisation in the UK with over 21,000 members. It supports artists and those who work with them in many practical ways, acting on behalf of its membership and the visual arts sector to improve artists’ livelihoods. a-n has a reputation for providing compelling insights and playing a catalytic role in influencing and informing cultural policy.

FREE event but booking is required.

A day on resilience – peer-to-peer discussions and group meal
1 - 9pm
East Street Arts, Patrick Studios, St Mary’s Lane, Leeds, LS9 7EH

When the zombie apocalypse comes, artists will be some of the best equipped to survive!

Join East Street Arts and a-n for a unique afternoon and evening of peer-to-peer discussions surrounding the theme of resilience. With invited facilitators Jon Orlek, Ellie Harrison, Hondartza Fraga and Jack Simpson ready to lead chats within small groups, the day’s success will be dependent on the contributions and experiences shared by all who attend. During the afternoon’s discussions, we will work collectively to create all the ingredients needed for an evening meal, hosted by Christie Hill, where conversation will become more informal.

The format for the day will be group discussion from 1 - 5pm, an opportunity to stretch the legs with a walk and talk around the local area between 5-5.30pm with the evening portion of the event running from 5.30 - 9pm with evening meal (BYOB).

Our starting points will be:

Sustaining practice
Determined, adaptable and resourceful, we artists are famed for thriving through adverse times though questions of how artists sustain themselves and their practice are perhaps not so apparent. What structures of support are there in place for artists? How do we earn our money? What are the milestones? Stepping stones? Barriers

Blurring life & work
Artists do not exist in a bubble. We live in the real world, in real communities, all over the city and beyond. Being an artist is in itself a political act but what truth is there to the notion that artists have to sacrifice their personal lives to make it in the arts. There are plenty of accounts, both anecdotally and within our own experience, of artists losing steam, burning out or losing the passion to carry on. What advice/measures can we put in place to elevate pressures and should we collectively discourage artists from spinning too many plates. Is the reality that spinning plates is the only way to subsist as an artist or is it counterproductive?

Creatives & the commercial
With less money to go around and no culture for philanthropic giving to plug the gap, many artists are finding opportunities by working with business and commercially driven organisations. What does a successful relationship look and feel like here? How do we stand our ground and where do we toe the line? What approaches do artists have to connect with business and the third sector outside of the arts? What are best practice examples?

Caring for yourself & caring for others
Many people in the arts have dependents, are carers, do not have financial support or support networks, live with disability or bad health. How do we level the playing field for these groups/individuals? How do we take into account these pressures, that are not always visible? What networks can be tapped into?

FREE event but booking is required.


Friday 30th June

Negotiating with confidence
10am - 5.30pm
East Street Arts, Patrick Studios, St Mary’s Lane, Leeds, LS9 7EH

“I’m not happy with the offer but I don’t want to lose out on an exhibition”

“I want the commission but I’m not happy with paying all of the costs...”

Familiar story?

Part of a-n’s ongoing practical support for artists, this workshop has been designed in response to our Paying Artists campaign which identified lack of confidence and training in negotiation as a barrier to artists achieving fair payment. This workshop will help equip participants with the communication skills to empower them to advocate for their work and value.

Delivered by Rivca Rubin – whose areas of expertise are in communication and leadership development, conflict resolution and change management, and creative thinking and future visioning, this workshop will help you to create clarity around motivations, expectations and outcomes and discuss how to create the right conditions to communicate. You will also explore the role of positive language and action, how to tactfully challenge those you disagree with, and how you can find common ground – knowing when to compromise and find a mutually agreeable conclusion.

Participants will also receive copies of the recently launched Exhibition Payment Guidance and the Artist-Led Manifesto launched alongside the guidance to take into consideration the different economies artist-led activities operate in.

Tickets £10 / £7.50 for a-n members. Lunch is provided within the ticket price. Booking is required.


Spaces are limited so if you find that you can no longer attend please let us know as soon as possible, so that we can let another artist make use of the space.

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