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The first of four new publications celebrating 40 years of a-n, guest edited by Birmingham-based Black Hole Club.

On Monday 14 December, the Contemporary Visual Arts Network (CVAN), of which we are part, along with the UK think-tank Policy Connect, and the All Party Parliamentary Group for Design & Innovation launched a report outlining key recommendations for the Visual Art sector beyond COVID-19.

Commissioned by CVAN, and in partnership support with a-n, the Artist Information Company, the report is the first step in formalising the sector’s positioning with our Government by providing them with a clear set of recommendations on how to ensure that the visual arts are properly presented, measured, and which barriers should be removed to ensure a diverse and healthy sector.

Moving into next year, the visual arts will play an integral part in building back the health and wealth of the country, with the measurable impact of the economic and wellbeing contributions it makes within our communities regionally and nationally.

The report, that was released today, calls for five key recommendations; to establish a visual arts baseline, to set social and economic growth targets at a national and local level, to extend and simplify tax incentives to support growth, to remove barriers to talent from abroad, and to strengthen networks to deliver social inclusion and diversity.

The report was launched at a sold out online event with attendees from both the parliament and the visual art sector. Hosted by former Arts Minister, Lord Ed Vaizey, the event included an address by Sarah Munro, Director of BALTIC, and Chair of CVAN as well as Sonia Boyce OBE RA, Professor of Black Art and Design, University of the Arts London and British representative at the 2021 Venice Biennial.

Speaking of the launch event and report, Director of CVAN Paula Orrell says:

“Today marks a really important and significant step forward in formalising our relationship with the Government, something that has been a long time in the making.  We are pleased to be in a position to be able to make these recommendations on behalf of our sector. We believe that the visual arts will play a pivotal role in this next, crucial, rebuilding phase. 

We are committed to ensuring that we are around the table, having the right discussions with decision makers to ensure that our sector is receiving the best possible support beyond the pandemic.  We were encouraged by the demand for this report, and were delighted to see so many attend the launch event, both MPs and arts professionals, showing a real need for this level of conversation.  This is an exciting day for our sector, we are thankful for the contribution and support of our colleagues at a-n, and for the expertise of our partners at Policy Connect and APDIG for making this happen, this certainly is just the beginning of what we see as being a long lasting relationship with our government.” 

Jack Tindale, Policy Manager for Design & Innovation at Policy Connect and report author expressed that:

“It has been an honour to work with CVAN and the visual arts sector on this report. After one of the most disruptive years in modern history, access to culture is more important than ever for our social and economic well-being. The recommendations we have set out in the report are ambitious, but necessary, and provide a clear roadmap for how artists can contribute to the economic recovery over the coming years.”

In coming together and making these recommendations publicly to the government, the visual arts are demonstrating its regional and national strength as the beating heart and soul of building back better.

You can read the full report on the CVAN website here.

CVAN would like to thank a-n The Artist Information Company for their contribution, as well as APDIG and Policy Connect in making this happen.

On Monday 14 December, the Contemporary Visual Arts Network (CVAN), of which we are part, along with the UK think-tank Policy Connect, and the All Party Parliamentary Group for Design & Innovation launched a report outlining key recommendations for the Visual Art sector beyond COVID-19.

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