AIR : Artists Interaction and Representation | Royaume-Uni

What is AIR? 

AIR was established in 2007 as an integral part of a-n’s Artist membership for practising visual and applied artists. Research and development of AIR was enabled by a-n The Artists Information Company, drawing on its role as long-standing and well-respected artists’ information and support organisation. a-n provides the secretariat and management of AIR.

AIR’s mission is to be the voice of practising visual and applied artists. Through discussion and debate, AIR identifies and explore the issues that impact on artists’ practice in order to campaign for artistic, legislative and economic measures to enhance artists’ working lives and advance their professional status. AIR promotes the central role of the artist within a diverse and sustainable cultural landscape, working in tandem with a-n to achieve this.

Paying Artists Campaign

AIR – Artists Interaction and Representation is leading a campaign designed to improve the pay and conditions for visual and applied artists who show work in publicly-funded galleries.

As part of the campaign, DHA consultants have been commissioned to conduct various stages of research. This will provide AIR + a-n with a sound evidence base for future lobbying, campaigning and advocacy and ultimately could help to shape positive policy change for exhibiting artists.

Artists’ pension research

Ever wondered why there is such a low level of take up of pensions by artists? A new piece of research commissioned by AIR will seek to find out.

Our Big Artists Survey 2011 showed that only 16% pay into a private pension plan. Given that 50% of artists are self employed it raises serious questions as to how artists will support themselves once they reach retirement age.

The aim of the research will be to identify how other membership bodies offer pension schemes and to assess the scope and feasibility of establishing one for visual artists within AIR’s benefits for members.

AIR’s Vice Chair, Joseph Young, comments: “The question of artists’ pensions may seem a low priority in these financially challenged times, when artists are finding it hard just to meet everyday living costs. However, the Big Artists Survey 2011 results identified the need for pension provision as a significant gap in artists’ long-term financial planning. It is with this in mind that I committed to prepare a preliminary report on how a self-employed artists pension scheme might work here in the UK.”

Explaining the process, Young comments: “I will be drawing on existing research such as Experts Workshop on Social Security of Visual Artists in Europe as well as direct conversations with other cultural unions such as Equity, the Musicians Union and also insurance brokers. From this we can quickly determine whether a pensions offer to AIR members will be a possibility for the near future.”