Artists' Union England

Launched in May 2014, Artists’ Union England (AUE) is a new trade union for professional visual and applied artists. It is being set up initially by a cross section of artists based across the uk who felt that the visual arts, unlike other cultural professions, lacked the kind of representation and collective voice a trade union could provide, as well as the lobbying and advocacy work they can carry out. Proper elections will be held in Autumn 2014 for the membership to elect an executive committee.

The union, which has over 500 initial members, is an opportunity to create a unique, sustainable and supportive infrastructure, which is built by its members for its members. It held its first meeting on Saturday 19 July and a survey that it carried out with its membership set the agenda for the day. The attendees ratified the initial aims and policy for the union; importantly, the membership fee was set at an initial fee of £30 for annual membership. This compares to £200 for the musicians union and £220 for BECTU, reflecting the fact that these are established unions offering comprehensive packages and cover while AUE is a nascent organisation.

The union aims:

  • to represent artists at strategic decision-making levels and positively influence the role artists play within society.
  • to challenge the economic inequalities in the art world and to negotiate fair pay and better working conditions for artists.
  • to work with other unions, arts organisations, government bodies and cultural institutions whilst remaining both independent and transparent.
  • to enable consensus decision-making, an active grass roots membership and involvement over a wide geographical spread.
  • to develop a rates of pay document for members.
  • to support other organisations campaigning on pay for example, MU's Pay Not Play campaign, a-n's Paying Artists campaign and Ritzy's Living Wage Campaign.

From Friday 1 August, membership includes membership of the General Federation of Trades Unions and discounts to specialist art suppliers. Other benefits such as insurance and legal advice are in the pipeline, but will become easier to negotiate once the union reaches its goal of recruiting 1000 members in its first year, as these are priced on a sliding scale.

Get Involved
Join the Artist’s Union England
Read their FAQ’s
Attend the AGM in Newcastle on Saturday 1 November and elect the Executive Committee (members only)

What's On

Family Saturdays

Aspex Gallery, The Vulcan, PO1 3BF

Monday 01 October 2018 – Thursday 31 October 2019

Craft Workshops

Various Venues

Friday 08 February 2019 – Tuesday 31 December 2019

Life Drawing Classes

Lostwithiel , PL22 0BP

Thursday 14 March 2019 – Sunday 08 March 2020

Visual Arts South West

Working towards a South West where talented artists thrive, and a resilient and connected visual arts ecology that inspires more engaged and diverse audiences to value and advocate for its work.

Part of the Contemporary Visual Arts Network

Supported by: