From the TUC

Arts and Culture Seminar

29 May 2009, By

A strategy for trade unions and arts and culture could not be far away, artists, trade unionists and relevant organisations met yesterday to discuss an art and culture strategy for the TUC, all agreeing that this is an important area of trade union work. The trade unions have always had a long history of engagement in the arts both representing artists in their struggle but also utilising the arts to spread the trade union message to a wider audience.

We were pleased to hear from Martin Brown, assistant general secretary of Equity  who spoke passionately about the issues faced by workers in the sector (and they represent more than just actors you know!); and also speaking on behalf of the Federation of entertainment unions as a whole. We also heard more from Platform as in previous blogs but also from various other art groups such as Banner  , Bridging Arts and Electric Picnic.

Two strands emerged, firstly how can we work with arts and culture mediums to reach the next generation of trade unionists/support our campaigns and secondly how can we directly recruit and organise arts workers. These were discussed to varying degrees by the wide range of union and organisations represented there including: Unite, BECTU , PCS, Prospect, Work Foundation, Bridging Arts, Musicians Unions, NUT, NASUWT, NUJ, Young Foundation, Stinkywinkles and Street-Performer.

We also heard from Megan Dobney of SERTUC and Paul Nowak of TUC on initiatives including the Black history celebrations and the evaluation of the Liverpool Capital of Culture report.  

We were pleased to welcome the Arts council and CCSkills to the seminar and we are pleased that we have the opportunity to develop these relationships further.

We will now be looking forward to looking at the further development of this key area of trade union work. So watch this space…..