On Tuesday 8th November, the second of a series of VAI clinics to learn more about the needs of artists in the North was held at the ADF on Royal Avenue in Belfast.
Chaired by Laura Graham, issues raised by attendees ranged from a discussion on the present call for comment by DCAL to hear from arts organisations, and presumably individual artists, on their feelings about support for creative industries, to more personal issues to do with accessibility and the lack of understanding of authorities in general to the status of being an artist, whether disabled or otherwise. We also questioned whether the call for comment from DCAL had been sent solely to arts organisations, in which case individual artists should make their voices and concerns heard urgently otherwise the more PR orientated creative industries opinions may hold sway.
The question did arise however, are artists comfortable with being termed as an ‘industry’? Is this the reason that artists are not shouting from the rooftops about what they would like to see change in funding structures? If we don’t enter the debate however, our voices can’t be taken into consideration.
With the opportunity of looking a bit more closely at accessibility issues for artists, prompted by our location, it is apparent that such issues are still keenly felt with a sense of exclusion in this increasingly bureaucratic world. This can range from difficulty in getting through the reams of documentation needed for many applications, benefits, insurance, work schemes, residencies etc, knowledge of the internet and comfort with the on line world to difficult physical issues. It is possible to obtain assistance in these areas and if anyone is in any doubt about their status, or possible funding opportunities, please contact ADF http://www.adf.ie/
It was an interesting and thought provoking discussion and I would like to thank Leo Devlin for organising the event, Chris Ledger CEO for her involvement and the staff of ADF for their support in making this clinic possible.
Visual Artists Ireland / Northern Contact Point