Why is being part of a union important?
"[Being a member] fosters a sense of solidarity, support and camaraderie and there is a sense of strength from being part of a collective."
In our most recent survey, our members were asked why being part of a union is important to them. Members gave a number of reasons why they had joined the union. The most common reason was for the information, advice and support received through the union. The second most popular response was around having a common voice and the solidarity the union brings, particularly in an ever more uncertain world where pay and conditions need to be protected. Many noted that they often work in isolation and appreciated the community and networking opportunities the union provides.
"It's important for artists to work together, to create a collective voice in order to lobby for better working conditions because otherwise as individuals we are often at a disadvantage, working within a sector where inequality and bad practice is ubiquitous."
"I spend a lot of time on my own [...] and what I have found over the last few years is that I feel increasingly supported by the fact that I am a member of the union and knowing that support is there is very important to me."
Many members were keen to highlight benefits, such as insurance, as well as access to workshops and training membership offers. Some felt that being a member helps to validate their work and make them feel more professional. The importance of the union's role in lobbying and political representation was also a common response.
"It connects me to artists and organisations with whom I would not have contact on a regular basis."
"Dealing with galleries and trying to get paid can be a bit daunting and isolating so feeling like I am part of an organisation that can give me advice and support is reassuring."
"Artists are workers and we deserve the same rights and representation as any other sector of the labour market."
Union membership benefits the artist in many ways:
- For information, advice and support on all aspects of professional art practice, including payment disputes and contract negotiations
- To have a common voice and solidarity with other artists to protect pay and working conditions
- To be part of a professional community and network
- To have lobbying and political representation
Membership includes these benefits:
- Free Product and Public Liability Insurance to the value of £5,000,000
- Free Professional Indemnity Cover to the value of £5,000,000
- Free access to workshops and training events
- Discounts on art materials
- Free or discounted legal advice and services
We welcome all professional visual artists and makers living and working in Scotland who meet our membership criteria. The Scottish Artists Union is affiliated to the Scottish Trades Union Congress, is run by its members and a voluntary executive committee.