Coronavirus (COVID-19) – VAI Update 25 March 2020

VAI along with so many other people and organisations are making and reviewing decisions based on current government guidelines and will keep you updated on our website News section and with emails to our members. As we continue to look at the practical nature of working remotely, we have now in place a range of systems that are allowing us to continue most of our work.

Last week, we had one staff member accessing the office to process memberships and issue certificates, as well as answer telephone calls. This staff member is now working from home, but the good news is that we are able to continue with the processing on membership applications and renewals, and issue the certificate for Social Welfare (Jobseekers Allowance for Artists) as needed.

We have also redirected our landline numbers for both the Dublin and Belfast Offices, so if you need to contact us then the normal numbers will work. If you need a specific person, then Shelly will take your details and let the relevant person know to get back to you. Our emails are all working as normal.

This means our Help Desk will continue to be available to you by phone and email. We will also schedule weekly Help Desks via Zoom and Skype for more in depth discussion during this challenging time. These will take place on Wednesdays from 1pm and can be booked in advance. Book for Wednesday 1st of April here. Help Desks are open to members and non members, and we can advise on a range of issues from finance, funding, projects, opportunities, public art, tax, contracts and conflict resolution.

We are also now planning a number of online versions of some of the Life Long Learning events that we had planned for the next few weeks. There will be more about that as soon as we have them confirmed.

Planning is underway for the next Visual Artists News Sheet. There’s a lot of activity there, and it will be a very full edition. The only area that will be postponed is Critique, as almost all venues and spaces are now closed. This means that the Exhibitions and Events eBulletin may be a bit sparse over the next couple of weeks, but we are delighted to hear from quite a few people who are going to host events online, and will make sure that these are included in the eBulletin. The Jobs and Opportunities eBulletin is not as affected and will continue to be sent on Wednesdays.

Any people working for VAI on a contract basis to deliver a workshop that is postponed or canceled will be paid according to the original agreement so that they are not out of pocket at this difficult time, and we will work with them at rescheduling dates;

We will continue to review events of this scale as they unfold for April and future months.

We have decided to postpone Get Together until later in the year. This is on the basis that we know that people will feel nervous booking events, and we want to ensure that we have a safe and creative day in which we can focus on each other. We are currently making contact with presenters and organisers so that we can find a date later in the year.

So, we will be in touch to let you know more about what is happening here in VAI… But, rest assured that we are still working away in the background.

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