How to Activate at a Local Level

advocacyVisual Artists Ireland’s advocacy work is at the core of what we do. Both nationally and locally we are in constant communications both with our members and with people who can help bring change. But, as a grassroots organisation it is also important that this advocacy takes is undertaken by all visual artists who feel that they want to see change.

Our key advocacy areas are documented under the Advocacy section. These national issues directly affect the lives of all artists and can be shared with other members of society. There are also specific issues that can arise in local areas. So, the purpose of this article is to act as a simple guide to assist you to enable change.

  1. To support your specific needs and the needs of the wider community, learn and understand Visual Artists Ireland’s advocacy positions and how to efficiently communicate the key points with your elected representatives, arts offices, and other people with influence;
  2. Help educate other VAI members within your community on how reform will affect each of you and why it is important to become involved in the political process. Visual Artists Cafés have been designed to help accomplish this as well as act as networking and development events. Get Together happens each year and is also a good place for you to meet with like minded people.
  3. If possible, create a local area network or special interest group. VAI can support you in this.
  4. Establish and develop a continuing personal relationship with your officials. As a constituent, member of the community, and an expert on the visual arts, your opinion and needs should be made important to them.
  5. Maintain your relationship with officials to keep communication open.
  6. If dealing with a local council, find out who are the members of their Strategic Policy Committee in charge of culture and make them aware of what you are looking for.
  7. Stay updated on your local voting history and activities. Express your opinion on your elected officials recent activities and your stature as an advocate will grow as will their understanding of VAI’s policy positions.
  8. Invite your officials to various community activities, such as small social gatherings or exhibition openings.
  9. Invite officials to visit your studio; this will allow them to be truly immersed in the day-to-day life of a VAI member.
  10. Stay up-to-date about upcoming local political functions and clinics.
  11. VAI actively supports the National Campaign for the Arts We encourage you to keep up to date with their advocacy, and actively participate in their calls for action. VAI sends out regular updates on specific actions or news about our own Advocacy programme through the eBulletin and in The Visual Artists News Sheet. We encourage you to ensure that your subscription and your membership is up to date. Your membership increases our mandate to speak on your behalf.
  12. Keep us informed of your local concerns and any activities that you have in place or any assistance that you may need, either individually or as a group. Our Help Desk is there for our members to use. We can also advertise any events that you have planned.