APPG for Visual Arts discusses challenges faced by freelance visual artists

The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Visual Arts held its first meeting of 2024 on Wednesday 7th February, focused on the challenges faced by freelance visual artists. The group discussed the working conditions of visual artists, and the precarity, low pay and unpaid labour which is endemic across the sector and heard from artist Charlotte Warne Thomas on these issues, and the support that a Freelancer Commissioner would bring.

A set of minute s from the meeting will be published soon.

APPG Visual Arts Briefing – House of Lords Debate Communications and Digital Committee inquiry

In July 2023, The House of Lords Communications and Digital Committee held a debate following the publication of their inquiry into the risks facing creative industries, which DACS submitted evidence to in September 2022.

DACS has drawn on the expertise of leading artists, gallerists, and change-makers in the visual arts to outline how creative practices are changing, how new and diverse audiences are being reached and what skills artists require to maximise these exciting new opportunities and has provided a set of recommendations to support creative industries.

Summary of recommendations

  1. Intellectual Property Rights and AI: Artists rely on copyright royalties to support their practice, and it is essential that AI companies who are using artists’ work fairly reward them. The IP framework should not be eroded and no new exceptions to copyright are needed.
  2. Implementation of the Smart Fund: Implement the Smart Fund or a similar scheme to ensure artists are compensated fairly when their work is reproduced and shared digitally. As one artist argued, “Fair remuneration isn’t a privilege, it’s a right.”
  3. Digital Skills Development: Increase investment in digital skills training, including funding for artist residency programmes, to equip artists with the skills to navigate  the digital landscape. As one artist stated, “Our industry’s future depends on our ability to master these new tools.”

DACS, as a member of the Secretariat for the APPG for Visual Arts, submitted a full briefing, which can be found here.

APPG for Visual Arts holds its AGM

On Tuesday 23rd May 2023, the All Party Parliamentary Group for Visual Arts convened for its inaugural AGM, where the appointment of Theo Clarke MP as Chair was confirmed, along with officers of the group and key priorities.

Theo Clarke brings a wealth of experience in the visual arts, having worked at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York and Christie’s auction house. She is a co-founder of The Association of Women in the Arts, and studied Art History at Newcastle University and the Courtauld Institute of Art.

On appointment as Chair of the APPG for Visual Arts, Theo Clarke MP said:

“The visual arts enrich the lives of all in the UK and play a vital role in our thriving creative economy, from internationally renowned art fairs to grassroots community projects that inspire the next generation of artists and creatives. At the same time, the sector faces unique challenges around fair pay, career pathways, access to education and safeguarding copyright. The APPG for Visual Arts has been established to ensure that artists, and the wider visual arts sector, have a voice in parliament. The officers of the APPG for Visual Arts look forward to working with both industry and parliamentary colleagues to foster an environment in the UK in which visual artists can flourish.”

The All Party Parliamentary Group for the Visual Arts has been established to provide a forum for parliamentarians to foster a deeper understanding of the issues and challenges faced by UK visual artists.

The APPG’s statement of purpose is to:

  • Advance the understanding of how visual artists carry out their practice and develop their careers;
  • Ensure fair pay for visual artists and safeguard their intellectual property rights;
  • Recognise the value artists bring to society and the UK economy, and ensure their artistic contributions are rewarded;
  • Foster an environment in the UK in which visual artists can flourish.

Full list of Officers of the APPG for Visual Arts:

Chair: Theo Clarke MP (Con, Stafford)

Vice Chair: Sir Roger Gale MP (Con, North Thanet)

Vice Chair: The Earl of Clancarty

Vice Chair: Lord Inglewood

Vice Chair: Giles Watling MP (Con, Clacton)

Vice Chair: Jamie Stone MP (Lib Dem, Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross)

Vice Chair: Damian Collins MP (Con, Folkestone and Hythe)

Officer: Simon Baynes MP (Con, Clwyd South)

Officer: Kim Johnson MP (Lab, Liverpool, Riverside)

Officer: Julie Elliott MP (Lab, Sunderland Central)

Meeting on Visual Arts and Levelling up

On Tuesday 12th July at 4pm, the APPG for Visual Arts will be holding its next meeting on the topic of visual arts and levelling up. The meeting will be held in person in Portcullis House and virtually over Zoom.

Parliamentarians will hear from a number of expert speakers from academia, arts representative bodies, individual artists and industry who will give their perspectives and insights on this key issue for the visual arts sector.  The panel will include:

  • Dr Alexia Holt, Senior Director of Programmes, Cove Park
    Dr Holt is Senior Director or Programmes at Cove Park, an international artists residency centre located on a rural site on Scotland’s west coast. Its residencies support the development of new work by national and international artists, groups and organisations working in all art forms.

As part of the APPG Visual Arts’ series of meetings on how visual artists can help regional economies, this meeting will study the impact visual artists have in shaping the places we live. Parliamentarians will hear from expert speakers in the visual arts who will provide perspectives and insights on how artists impact cultural place making and the value they hold for regional economies.

All Parliamentarians are welcome to attend. Zoom access is available by request.

Please RSVP to secretariat of the Group at who will be able to send through the joining details for the meeting and an agenda.

APPG VA Planning Meeting

On Wednesday 15th September, the APPG for Visual Arts held a meeting to agree the Group’s future programme of work. A minute note of the meeting is available to view here.

Constitution meeting of the APPG

The APPG was formally constituted, the Chair and officers elected and the Group discussed its forward programme of activity for the year ahead.