‘Great-ish: The Gaslighting of a Nation’, 2020. Film still. De'Anne Crooks.

Birmingham-based De’Anne Crooks was recently commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella (FVU) to produce a piece responding to the pandemic. Great-ish: The Gaslighting of a Nation(2020) is a love letter to an unborn child which engages with the migrant experience and Britain as a spouse in a would-be toxic relationship.

Annabel Clarke talks to her about her work.

‘Great-ish: The Gaslighting of a Nation’ is such a moving piece. I was in tears. Can you tell us a little about how you went about making the film? 

I am still humbled by the emotional response people have had to the film. I think the response has been quite reflective of the process. Making it was emotional. There were so many times I felt like I was giving too much to the work. Like it was very raw thing to explore a topic in this way, in this very personal way. 

I knew when I wrote the proposal that I really wanted to show the toxic relationship that marginalised people have with their country, but I wasn’t sure how I wanted to do it. As I worked, I began to make connections between how this country treats marginalised people and toxic relationships, and I realised that actually, everything I’m writing down, everything relating to what occurs between a country and marginalised peoples, especially Great Britain, is symbolic of a bad relationship, it’s actually gaslighting. As somebody who has been in a toxic relationship and somebody who has been gaslit, making those parallels came easily to me. 

It took me about two weeks to cement how I could communicate these ideas in a way that not only expressed what I felt and what my community feels (although I cannot speak for my entire community), but what I as a Black womxn feels and is willing to share. I didn’t really know how I could express this concept in a way that everyone could relate to because depending on your racial background, you will either never experience a complex relationship with your country or you will have experienced it so comprehensively that this work may trigger you. I’m aware of how ridiculously cliché this may sound, but the solution came to me in a dream, I know how that sounds. But the truth is, I literally jumped out of bed at 4am, grabbed my phone and started to jot down what ended up being the first half of the script for ‘Great-ish: The Gaslighting of a Nation.’ It was at the end of my bed, phone in one hand and through blurry eyes that the structure and the first half of the script began to form. 

This idea that I would write a letter to my unborn child, which again is an aspect of this that is so personal to me because of my own relationship and issues with being able to have a child, could only have come in this way. Even though I was apprehensive about the initial script, it felt very important and it felt appropriate to tell a story in this way. So I started to write a love letter. Once I had this structure I felt a lot more confident about bringing this experience across. That’s the thing with gaslighting, it can be hard to explain that type of abuse because you have been convinced that it’s not abuse. But half way through the commission, I realised that I was teaching something non fictional. This is not me talking to my abuser, to Great Britain, or even to my peers, but this is me talking to someone who doesn’t exist yet. That added a whole different dimension to the piece, and I had to play around a lot more with my storyboard. I feel like I should say that the monologue informed the visuals but it didn’t, and I feel like that worked well in this case. I had already selected archived material and had filmed most of the new material around my home, as the brief required we stay indoors, before the script was complete. I think the rule that we had to film within our homes adds a layer of intimacy, having visuals that have been collected in my home, in my space, a safe space that I would rarely share with such a wide audience, but also have that working alongside audio that is ultimately saying things aren’t so safe and talking about things that are quite dangerous and emotional and traumatic is what pushed my thinking a little further forward. 

‘Great-ish: The Gaslighting of a Nation’, 2020. Film still. De’Anne Crooks.

It can currently be viewed on the FVU website. Are there plans for it to be shown elsewhere?

The film is available to watch on the FVU website as part of their permanent collection and is a featured video until 14 November. In terms of what happens with the work now, I’m not too sure yet. I really would love to screen it elsewhere. I’d love to screen it in spaces that specifically talk to and heal people like me really, because I feel like even though it can be read as quite a sad piece, this is a testimony of healing. It is an experience a lot of Black people can relate to, so it would be really great for people to see it in a space that feels like home. Sometimes galleries don’t exist as an inclusive space for Black people and so I have this vision of screening it in spaces specifically chosen by the Black community. 

To be honest, being able to view it on the FVU website works really well right now as many physical spaces cannot be occupied. I’m grateful to FVU, not just for the commission, but the support. My Supervising Producer Leah McGurk was really invested in the concept, in the proposal, in the work and I felt that in the support I got from her. I specifically want to thank her for helping bring this together. 

 

Your work spans mediums. Has the pandemic changed the way in which you make work? 

I’ve never really considered myself to be one type of artist, so I’ve never committed to calling myself a painter, a filmmaker or a sculptor. I guess I just create work in a way where the medium is dictated by the message. 

The solo exhibition I had in July 2019 at Centrala ‘Two Truths and a Lie’, was made up of mostly paintings with one photographic piece, a print piece and one short video piece called ‘Lief’. So I’d say for that body of work I steered towards more paintings and photography, which just so happened to be a project I shared pre-covid. So I would say the pandemic has in fact altered the way in which I’m creating, not necessarily thinking but my choice of medium. I’ve got to really think about how people are going to engage with my work more carefully, so that has dictated the way I’m making it. I think I still have a traditional approach, as in jotting stuff down in my sketchbook, I always return to my sketchbook, but I’ve noticed that I am then bringing those sketchbook ideas to my screen and creating these sort of desktop mood boards. I’ll have writing I’ve done on there, some of the automatic writings, images from my phone, sketches, sketchbook pages, other found imagery all laid out on my desktop screen. Some of these are available to see on my website and Instagram. As soon as the first lockdown happened, that was when I started putting everything on screen in a particular way and played with how the different things worked with one another – Seeing how some of the text would contrast with the drawing and how that contrasted with the photographs I took. I think that was to first stage of seeing my practice change in this digital sort of way. 

The filmmaking really came back into my work through lockdown. The FVU commission requiring me to only film in doors, only in my home, was definitely something that was affected by the pandemic. And even though I use my sketchbook a lot, for ‘Great-ish’ I found that I was mostly using my phone to make notes. I feel I’ve become a little more digital, as I imagine most of the world has due to the pandemic. I think I only leaned into that way of producing work because most people were at home, on their computers, getting more in touch with technology.

‘Great-ish: The Gaslighting of a Nation’, 2020. Film still. De’Anne Crooks.

You’ve recently been awarded a bursary through ReFramed. Could you tell us a little about what you will be producing for the commission?

I’ve been asked to respond to how COVID-19 has affected Black and Asian people or the Black and Asian experience in relation to COVID-19 which is a huge topic really! I could probably complete a whole body of work about that. But the brief required me to create 3-5 photographs and I chose to do this work about my grandmother (who I call ‘Nan’). You can actually see her in ‘Great-ish: The Gaslighting of a Nation’. She’s my muse. 

The series of photographs I’ve produced capture her experience of faith and fear. Initially I wanted to look at how someone who is elderly, an immigrant in England, can already feel like they are in a strange land. They can feel isolated as both an older person, as a woman, as a Caribbean person – how that is already quite isolating to be in a country that you consider a sort of home but not quite that, and then in addition to that, to be in isolation, to be locked down. It’s a difficult experience. It’s an experience that’s not represented enough. 

I then started to focus on one of the things that has always been a comfort for her, something that has always been a constant, and that has been her faith. She’s a Christian woman and a firm believer in God. Her faith is everything to her. The photographs try to document her relationship between having this faith but not being able to go to church, be around her friends, her pastor, her leadership, her family. What happens when someone is surrounded by all of this fear and is hearing on the news everyday: ‘Stay home’, ‘Don’t go anywhere’, ‘You are vulnerable, you are vulnerable’? I think it’s weird always hearing that you are vulnerable and then being Black, being an older woman and having these underlying conditions, receiving these messages since the start of lockdown, she has just had this very strange and difficult experience. 

I really wanted to discover what that fear looks like alongside her firm faith, really trusting and believing in a God that she believes has everything under control and that she is protected, and safe and loved. The photographs are a documentation of her relationship between her home, her space and how her home is safe because she has this faith. She is surrounded by all these memorabilia, scriptures, images, her bible and her hymns. So yeah hopefully you can see the final images soon and I hope you enjoy them.

‘Great-ish: The Gaslighting of a Nation’, 2020. Film still. De’Anne Crooks.

What else are you currently working on?

I’m currently working on a few things. I’ve just created something for Vivid Projects. Alex Billingham at Vivid Projects has an incredible concept at the moment called Vivid Live TV. They commissioned me to create something that responded to this digital era that’s happening; the digital boom of creating art and how we access it as well. I created a short video called ‘Break Bread With Me’. That’s available to view until 6 November. Hopefully I can show that work again at some point in the future. I’m delving a little into work about identity politics and what makes my identity political.

My work at the moment is looking into what happens at this intersection of being Black and British and what that actually means in relation to belonging, the implicit consequences of colonisation, the conversation around migration and people existing within Britain; but Britain not really feeling like a place where one can exist and so on…that is where my current body of work seems to be going. This is even starting to cross over into my Masters degree where I’m looking at inclusive language and the consideration of identity within education; thinking about Bell Hooks and David Sutcliffe’s text ‘British Black English’. Really focusing on language and speech in relation to identity politics. I’m also working with Black Hole Club which is fantastic and we are developing something really cool at the moment and I have the opportunity to unpack my ideas a little further but through a retrospective lens, thinking about identity politics spanning the last 30-40 years. Making different connections with my own work but with other artists that have inspired me as well. There is a lot of cross over happening between my studying, my commissions and the fellowship with Black Hole Club so that’s fun.

Great-ish: The Gaslighting of a Nation(2020) can be viewed here on the FVU website as part of their permanent collection.

Break Bread With Me’ (2020) can be viewed here on the Vivid Projects website until Friday 6 November 2020.

Birmingham-based De’Anne Crooks was recently commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella (FVU) to produce a piece responding to the pandemic. ‘Great-ish: The Gaslighting of a Nation’ (2020) is a love letter to an unborn child which engages with the migrant experience and Britain as a spouse in a would-be toxic relationship. Annabel Clarke talks to her about her work.

https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2020/oct/16/dire-future-for-england-small-arts-organisations-arts-council-funding

Last week, the UK government announced £257m in emergency arts funding – the Guardian hear from some of those who missed out, complaining of baffling applications and a lack of guidance.

https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2020/oct/04/arts-bailout-delay-leaves-jobs-at-risk-in-uk-and-theatres-on-brink-of-ruin

‘Complexity and volume of applications’ stalls hand-out of £1.57bn pledged in July – via The Guardian.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/jul/29/is-uk-arts-rescue-package-too-little-too-late-for-grassroots

Cash aims to revive struggling sector, but smaller venues that support vulnerable people fear they will have to shut anyway. A focus on The Hive in Shrewsbury as well as the sadly now closed Artrix in Bromsgrove – via The Guardian.

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2020/jul/08/great-reopening-britains-galleries-covid-proofed-london-dundee-llandudno

From London to Llandudno to Dundee, museums are back in business. So is it now safe to view art – and how will they cope with the drastic drop in numbers? – via The Guardian.

The impact of COVID-19 has been far reaching in our sector, evidenced in the submission by CVAN, 17 June 2020 to DCMS.

Like the rest of the sector, we were both surprised and delighted at the news announced late last night by the Government of a £1.57 billion investment to protect Britain’s arts and heritage institutions.

However, as our evidence shows; small organisations and independent practitioners, especially disabled and neurodivergent artists and Black and People of Colour artists have faced significant loss of livelihood and are most vulnerable; with many not being protected by the funding available to date.

We are therefore calling for equitable and fair distribution of these funds to ensure that this does not solely reach the ‘crown jewels’ of the arts sector, as has been indicated.  This funding is vital to organisations and venues of all sizes across all regions nationally.  

Without artists, there is no art. All regions and venues of all sizes should be accounted for in the distribution; no-one should be forgotten. 

 

Like the rest of the sector, we were both surprised and delighted at the news announced late last night by the Government of a £1.57 billion investment to protect Britain’s arts and heritage institutions.

However, without artists, there is no art. All regions and venues of all sizes should be accounted for in the distribution; no-one should be forgotten.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jul/05/boris-johnson-uk-lifeline-arts-heritage-sector-afloat

Britain’s arts and heritage sectors have been promised £1.57bn of help in a long-awaited rescue package described by the government as the biggest one-off investment in UK culture – via The Guardian.

http://www.cvan.art/news/2020/7/3/an-open-letter-to-the-chancellor

The Contemporary Visual Art Network (CVAN)’s Open Letter to the Chancellor Rishi Sunak Secretary to the Treasury Kemi Badenoch MP and DCMS Secretary of State Oliver Dowden about the impact of Covid-19 on the Visual Arts and how to save an art form that plays a central role in the UK’s economy and society.

 

Black Country Visual Arts (BCVA) and ReFramed are launching a new project to record Black, Asian and other minority ethnic communities experiences of COVID-19 across the Midlands.

‘Digital Diaspora: The Midlands Covid-19 Project’ is led by a team of award-winning photographers and curators who believe that visual arts play a critical role in shaping civic and contemporary attitudes, initiating collaborative conversations, and changing prevailing thoughts about race and our communities.

There is much-documented local racial disparity in terms of wealth, opportunity, social isolation and mental health, yet local BAME communities are underrepresented in the arts. This project will attempt to redress these issues.

Over the next six months, the project will inspire and train local Black, Asian and other minority ethnic communities to engage with photography, alongside spoken and written narratives, to enable them to capture and present a greater range of stories than is normally represented of local culture within the Midlands.

As part of the project, they will also run online art classes to enable local people to tell their own stories, showcasing local narratives on this website and awarding bursaries to enable two local artists to produce work. The awards will be £500 each and will be accompanied by support and mentoring.

 

Find out more about the opportunities on the ReFramed website here.

Black Country Visual Arts (BCVA) and ReFramed are launching a new project to record Black, Asian and other minority ethnic communities experiences of COVID-19 across the Midlands.

https://www.shropshire.gov.uk/arts-and-festivals/shropshire-council-emergency-arts-grants-2020/

In response to the current crisis Shropshire Council have provided emergency grant funding to 23 arts organisations, venues and festivals in the county. The funding is supporting a huge amount of high-quality arts activity. Over the next six months, communities from across Shropshire will have the opportunity to get involved in a range of exciting online and digital arts activities. It’s estimated that over 23,000 people will benefit, as either participants or audience members.

https://www.makeitwm.com/blog/read/2020/06/west-midlands-arts-companies-come-together-to-celebrate-the-regions-arts-and-culture-with-free-midsummer-festival-b297

West Midlands Culture Response Unit (WMCRU) announces the Midsummer Festival, a free one-day festival celebrating arts and culture in the West Midlands on Saturday 20 June.

Future Proof - VASW, © Chelsea Cliff, 2019.

A survey was launched in April 2020 to gauge the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the related lockdown on the visual arts sector. It was commissioned by Contemporary Visual Arts Network (CVAN) in association with Earthen Lamp as a rapid action tool. It was initiated to understand the position of the workforce dependent on freelance gig economy in the visual arts sector in the UK and investigated their response to emergency sector support measures announced by Arts Council England (ACE) and HM Treasury. The study included responses from a range of individuals that work in the visual arts sector – from artists and makers to technicians and fabricators, from curators to consultants.

Respondents were asked about the impacts they were experiencing of the pandemic and related announcements:

58% are worried about their ability to get future work.

44% of visual arts workers have permanently lost work since the announcement.

20% feel they are not eligible for support, related to diversity in forms of employment and complex income sources of respondents.

Nevertheless, respondents discussed the unexpected impact and interaction with their community as a positive outcome. Many respondents have volunteered for the NHS or used their skills and time to benefit the communities they live in or the artistic community they belong to. This has ranged from helping the NHS as volunteers, neighbours through Mutual Aid action groups and using skills to make banners and sew scrubs.

The summary report can be downloaded and read here.

 

The survey was delivered in partnership with Artists’ Union Englanda-n The Artists Information Company, ArtQuest London, AxisWebCuratorSpaceDACSEngage and Guild.

As key sector support organisations working to safeguard the visual arts in its broadest sense, we wanted to understand how to best to deploy our capacity and resource over the challenging weeks, months and years ahead.

CVAN would like to say a huge thank you to everybody who joined forces in creating and distributing Impact of COVID-19 on Visual Arts Workers. Through our combined efforts, we were able to generate 1,038 completed surveys across the country. This is a tremendous achievement which we should all be proud of. Well done!

Knowing more through this research has helped us coordinate our efforts, and lobby effectively for the sector. Through the findings of this survey we have built an evidence base to advocate for artists and arts professionals in a position of hardship over coming months.

These findings were compiled by an independent agency Earthen Lamp. All findings from this research are presented in an anonymised way to the sector, policymakers and government bodies. Please note that the results will not influence decisions or support package that have already been announced by funders. If you have any questions or comments about this research, please contact info@earthenlamp.com.

In April a survey was launched by the Contemporary Visual Arts Network (CVAN) to gauge the impact of the pandemic and lockdown on the visual arts sector. The summary of findings have now been published.

https://www.wmca.org.uk/news/government-urged-to-use-west-midlands-as-test-bed-for-early-reopening-of-tourism-hospitality-and-cultural-sector/

Regional leaders have called on Government to allow the West Midlands to become a national test bed for an early reopening of the tourism, hospitality and cultural sector.

Artists Make Change: “Artists need to be more involved in policy decisions”

a-n Artists Council has initiated a 12-month research and development project that will explore the role of the artist in society and advocate for how artists and art organisers can effectively work for change. Glen Stoker, a visual artist and Director of Stoke-on-Trent-based artist-led project AirSpace Gallery, and Rachel Dobbs, an artist and educator based in Plymouth speak to Jack Hutchinson about the project and how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted their plans – via a-n.

Photo by Alex Jackman on Unsplash

Photo by Alex Jackman on Unsplash

 

We’ll be updating this list of resources and opportunities as we find them.

If there’s something you think should be included, please let us know via – info@newartwestmidlands.co.uk

 

[Last updated 19 May 2020]

 

Groups

Culture Response Unit West Midlands – A Facebook group from Culture Central ensuring the visibility, viability and recovery of the Cultural Sector in the West Midlands.

Anti-viral work for freelancers and small businesses is a growing Facebook group and support system set up in response to the impact of COVID-19 on the self-employed – many from the creative industries.

Artist Edie Jo Murray has started a Slack group for West Midlands artists.

The Arts Marketing Association (AMA) have set up a Facebook Group for those marketing during these difficult times.

 

Government support

HMRC have launched a helpline to help businesses and the self-employed concerned about paying their tax due to coronavirus.

GOV. UK Self-Employment Income Support Scheme Eligibility Checker

Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)

The Government announced in the Budget in October 2018 that it would provide a Business Rates Retail Discount, to apply in the years 2019/20 and 2020/21. In response to Coronavirus, in the Budget on 11 March the Government announced that it would increase the discount to 100% and extend it to include the leisure and hospitality sectors. Information on this Business Rate Relief an be found here.

The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has launched a dedicated website providing the latest information for West Midlands businesses hit by the Covid-19 crisis. The site provides a bespoke resource for businesses seeking up-to-date advice on how to deal with the pandemic as well as what financial support is available and how to access it.

 

Funding/Opportunities

Arts Council England have announced that £160 million of emergency funding is being made made available for organisations and individuals during the COVID-19 crisis. If you’re thinking of applying as an individual or organisation, BOMCulture Central, Creative Black Country and we can assist. The latest information on emergency Arts Council funding streams can be found here.

MAIA have launched a fundraiser to provide hardship funds for artists, cultural workers, practitioners and creative freelancers that cannot work during this time or who have been affected by cancellations or other impacts. Donate or find out how to apply here.

Herefordshire community groups, charities, and collectives can still apply for My Place grants of up to £2,000 from Herefordshire’s a Great Place. “This funding might not solve the problems we’re all facing right now, but it could be a little light at the end of tunnel. Grants can be used to commission artists & creatives to make new work or run arts activities across Herefordshire. The arts activity doesn’t have to happen until much later in the year, but it could be a lifeline for Herefordshire-based creatives right now. Maybe you want to support your village hall, a community or small group near you?”

Axisweb have started a hardship fund for “any member experiencing financial hardship – unable to work, disabled, a carer, on low income or freelance – is eligible to apply.”

BFI has launched a Resilience Fund to support the film industry and workforce.

The Goldsmiths’ Company has announced a £1 million support fund for those in the jewellery, silversmithing and allied industries.

UK QTIBIPOC has launched an Emergency relief & Hardship Fund to provide short term support to Queer, Trans and Intersex, Black, Indigenous, People of Color currently living in the UK who are affected by the outbreak and ongoing shutdown caused by COVID-19.

The Artist General Benevolent Fund financially supports professional artists in need.

Creative Black Country are offering small creative commissions of £500 – £2000 for projects that develop creative activity with and for local communities in the Black Country to make connections and support local people during these extraordinary and difficult times. Inspired by the positive responses around the world from balcony singing in Italy to digital choir platforms and #lockdownkitchendisco, they are looking for creative responses to the social distancing challenge which bring fun, joy and creativity to local people in the Black Country, and keep people connected.

The Coventry City of Culture team and The Heart of England Community Foundation have released a Coronavirus Resilience Fund wishing to support those in the community for whom the cancelling of public events has hit the hardest across Coventry and Warwickshire. This hardship fund will support arts organisations and individual artists to help them through this difficult time. The maximum grant size for organisations is: £1000 and the maximum for individuals, £500.

CuratorSpace is developing a new (free) service for artists who have experience delivering workshops. This service will allow them to set up, organise and promote online courses through CuratorSpace to their international database and social media following. The service will be made available for free for 6 months to support artists who are struggling to make a living due the loss of income from face-to-face workshops.

To help support a-n Artist members whose livelihoods have been impacted by Coronavirus Covid-19, they have brought the application process forward for the next round of a-n Artist Bursaries, and are also announcing new funding for artists and arts organisers who make exhibitions happen.

The Paul Mellon Centre has made £200,000 available in a special programme of funding designed to support the field of British art studies during the COVID-19 crisis. The programme will provide quickly released funding for both individuals and institutions, and is intended to sustain research, writing and thinking on British art and architecture during a period of unprecedented disruption for the scholarly and curatorial communities. Deadline: Tuesday 19 May 2020.

Freelands Foundation Emergency Fund – For artists and freelancers in England and Northern Ireland in partnership with a-n The Artists Information Company. Bursaries of £1,500 – £2,500 available. Deadline: Thursday 18 June 2020.

Digital Collaboration Grants, Transforming Narratives – Grants of up to £4,000 are on offer to enable creative and cultural practitioners in Birmingham, Pakistan and Bangladesh to make connections and work collaboratively using digital technology. Applicants may choose to offer an artistic response or acknowledgement of the current global pandemic and its implications across the globe, or can make work inspired by any other topic of interest. Deadline: Friday 19 June 2020.

 

Reading

Information and guidance for artists and arts organisers from a-n.

The Arts Marketing Association (AMA) have released a list of resources with links to AMA support, sector & freelancer tips and guides, and funding body advice. They have a free webinar on Crisis Comms planning coming up.

UK Covid-19 Freelance Artist Resources List – A collection of links to resources to help freelance creatives and artists.

Coronovirus Tech Handbook – virtual event resources and advice.

10 Tips for Cultural Organisations for COVID-19 – via Counterculture.

Useful resources for the attractions and travel industry – via Rubber Cheese.

The basics of surviving and thriving for those suddenly forced to network entirely online – by Sonia Boué.

Exploring art under self-isolation in Birmingham (and beyond.) A nice piece from James Kennedy on plans for art spaces in the region to present work online.

list of resources businesses can use to enhance their knowledge and action plan in areas such as communication, crisis management, business continuation, etc, and how to handle this crisis from their positions.

 

Misc

The Creative Industries Federation is offering free membership for the next 6 months. “We are only as strong as our membership and we need creatives from across the country to join us at this time of crisis for the sector… join us as a Creative Industries Federation Member free of charge… so we can support you with relevant news and updates whilst you navigate the challenges of the ongoing Coronavirus emergency.”

Arts Professional are removing their subscription paywall for all Covid-19 related news, resources and content to support arts workers.

Arts producer Laura Sweeney has shared a downloadable Lost Earnings Log template which could help with applications for financial support.

Cultural organisations are rushing to get content online – Chris Unitt has started to put together a list of what organisations are doing in one place. Please fill in his spreadsheet with links to performances, tours, talks, classes, games, etc.

The #CovidCreativesToolkit, ‘a set of curated mostly free & open source resources to support creative practitioners (artists, makers, curators, designers, hackers, educators, facilitators, etc) who need to migrate their practice onto digital places & spaces, and don’t have time to mess around.’

We’ll be updating this list of resources and opportunities as we find them.

If there’s something you think should be included, please let us know via – info@newartwestmidlands.co.uk

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/26/uk-could-become-cultural-wasteland-due-to-coronavirus-say-artists

Letter signed by hundreds of creative figures including Jeremy Deller, Grayson Perry and Anish Kapoor calls on government support – via The Guardian.

Arts organisations call on Government to protect artists

Leading arts organisations, including the Contemporary Visual Arts Network (of which we are part), have written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak MP asking him to protect the livelihoods of visual artists affected by COVID-19.

Last week, Arts Council England and HM Treasury announced emergency sector support measures to help visual arts workers affected by COVID-19. We are keen to develop our understanding of the impact of these measures upon the visual arts sector. The Contemporary Visual Arts Network (CVAN) has built a survey with Earthen Lamp, a-n The Artists Information Company, ArtQuest, AxisWeb, CuratorSpace, DACS, Artists’ Union England, Guild, and Engage, and are looking for your help.

As key sector support organisations working to support the visual arts in its broadest sense, we want to understand how to best to deploy our capacity and resource over the challenging weeks, months and years ahead.

How has this pandemic disrupted your practice?
Do you feel that enough has been done to help?

The research will inform our approach to sector support collaboration moving forward, coalescing around the needs of a future visual arts sector that is changed as much for the better as recovered to the status quo.

Fill in the short survey HERE.

 

The findings will be compiled by an independent agency Earthen Lamp. All findings from this research will be presented in an anonymised way to the sector, policymakers and government bodies. Please note that the results will not influence decisions or support package that have already been announced by funders. If you have any questions or comments about this research, please contact info@earthenlamp.com. 

Last week, Arts Council England and HM Treasury announced emergency sector support measures to help visual arts workers affected by COVID-19. We are keen to develop our understanding of the impact of these measures upon the visual arts sector. The Contemporary Visual Arts Network (CVAN) has built a survey with Earthen Lamp + other partners and are looking for your help.

The research will inform our approach to sector support collaboration moving forward.

Coronavirus Covid-19 a-n survey headlines

Initial findings from the a-n Coronavirus Covid-19 Survey, designed to understand the impact on artists and arts managers and the support they need.

The New Art West Midlands team is shifting the way we work over the coming weeks, in response to Government advice and supporting the efforts to reduce the impact of COVID-19. During this difficult time, we are working with our partners to postpone and where possible reschedule our face-to-face activities and opportunities (see further information below).

We will redirect the focus of our next round of Micro Bursaries (a go-and-see resource in previous years) towards evidence gathering around the impact on artists’ livelihoods caused by the Coronavirus outbreak and the unprecedented measures taken to slow the spread of the disease.

Shortly we will open this as a paid opportunity, inviting artists and arts professionals to share experiences of the current situation – case studies, points of view and thought pieces around practice in these exceptional times.

Alongside, we are undertaking some research to run over the course of the next few weeks to gather information on the precarious position of the visual arts workforce – those working in freelance capacities and dependent on the prevalent gig economy.  Watch this space and please engage.

Together we hope to build an evidence base to use to advocate for artists and arts professionals in a position of hardship over coming months and to gain a better understanding of the economic position of the keyworkers as the sector looks towards recovery. We are in conversation with Arts Council England to ensure that the evidence we collect is as useful to the sector as it possibly can be.

In the meantime, we are not going anywhere. We will continue to champion and support artists, arts professionals and culture across the region. If you need to reach us, please email us at info@newartwestmidlands.co.uk or get in touch via our social media channels.

Further guidance and support is shared below, including Arts Council England’s latest update and MAIA’s fundraiser to support West Midlands’ artists. Please continue to share your opportunities, news and work with us – and most importantly, stay safe.

Craig, Anneka and Annabel x

 

Some useful resources: 

Anti-viral work for freelancers and small businesses is a growing Facebook group and support system set up in response to the impact of COVID-19 on the self-employed – many from the creative industries.

MAIA have launched a fundraiser to provide hardship funds for artists, cultural workers, practitioners and creative freelancers that cannot work during this time or who have been affected by cancellations or other impacts. Donate or find out how to apply here.

The arts community in the USA is mobilising fast to organise support for artists during the crisis. These resources, shared by Arts Council on Twitter have an international focus, and are not only relevant for American artists.

HMRC have launched a helpline to help businesses and the self-employed concerned about paying their tax due to coronavirus.

An update from New Art West Midlands in light of the ongoing Covid-19 crisis.