a-n - The Artist Information Company
- a-n is the largest artists’ membership organisation in the UK with over 25,000 members. We support artists and those who work with them in many practical ways, acting on behalf of our membership and the visual arts sector to improve artists’ livelihoods. We have a reputation for providing compelling insights and playing a catalytic role in influencing and informing cultural policy. Through advocacy and information and from the perspective of artists, a-n’s mission is to stimulate and support contemporary visual arts practice and affirm the value of artists in society.
- a not-for-profit workers cooperative. Working directly with grassroots activists, we design digital tools that make radical change possible.
are currently working with them on an online space sharing resource - Here is their survey https://commonknowledge.typeform.com/to/P4QEeE
- an experiment in self-organised education that has been active since January 2016. It's a space where we can cultivate common interests, develop research and collectively decide the class’s programme. Our programme takes the form of public workshops, talks and debates, reading groups, radio broadcasting, performances, walks, and publishing.
- an 'organising school' for people who are not yet organisers (in whatever sphere). We give a lot of support for people new to organising events / learning sessions.
- a movement bringing together arts and cultural organisations from across the UK, to articulate, champion and strengthen the role of culture in our society. We want to work collaboratively to build alliances outside of the cultural sector, build relationships with local and national government and engage the public in new and different conversations about the arts.
- a research and development project that brings together arts organisations from across Europe and the South Mediterranean to jointly create innovative organisational models and reflect on concrete answers to crucial challenges related to the production, distribution and presentation of contemporary art practices. They also have a useful directory of individuals & organisations involved in this work.
Social Arts Network
- In 2017 artists Eelyn Lee and R.M. Sánchez-Camus co-founded Social Art Network (SAN), a UK based community of artists committed to building agency for the field of art and social practice. They initiate & run regional group Meet Ups, the Social Art Summit, Social Art Assembly Discussions & publishing and moving image strands.
- a network of over 650 UK organisers from different trade unions, grassroots groups, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), faith-based campaigns, political parties, civil society groups and movements from across the country. NEON builds the power of movements for social and economic justice. We run powerful trainings and support campaigns to help progressives win social, economic and environmental justice.
Shades of Noir
-(SoN) was created by Aisha Richards. SoN is an independent program that supports: Curriculum design, Pedagogies of social justice through representation, Cultural currency, and Accessible knowledge. This is a program that creates opportunities for marginalised groups and their need for safe spaces to articulate self-determination and liberate the struggles from oppressive structures both in education and society.
- works with and between art, activism, education and research. Platform’s current campaigns focus on the social, economic and environmental impacts of the global oil industry. They also offer workshops and training in: Art, Activism and Education; Campaigning and Projects; Finance and Fundraising and Organisational Structures.
Voices That Shake
- an intergenerational project with young people 16-25 years, on arts, race, media and power (launched in 2010). SHAKE! participants engage in dynamic workshops and skill-shares (creative writing & performance, film making, music production, zines, art and activism) & follow-up mentoring to pursue creative campaigning & events production.
Seeds For Change
- a workers' co-op of experienced campaigners and co-operators who offer training, facilitation, online resources and other support for campaigns, community groups and co-operatives who want to learn about collective organising and consensus decision making, developing your strategy, campaign and action skills, setting up groups and co-ops, co-operative governance and training for trainers.
Migrants in Culture
- are migrant cultural workers. We organise for justice in the Hostile Environment. We are a support network and action group that holds the cultural sector accountable to migrants, citizens of colour and all other people being impacted by the immigration regime, in our workplaces and neighbourhoods.
- a platform where refugees and migrants organise for power, dignity and justice. We develop leadership and open up spaces for relational, organised participation of migrants and refugees in public life.
Stir to Action
- Stir to Action Ltd is a worker co-operative, building a new economy based on democratic ownership through workshop programmes, strategic economic development, fellowship scheme and a quarterly magazine.
- are a charity dedicated to ensuring that people most impacted by injustice are leading campaigns that affect their lives, from better housing to fairer treatment of migrants and LGBTQ+ rights. We run a variety of training, from our flagship Bootcamp residential programmes, to local community training events.
Green & Black Cross
- an independent grassroots project, set up in 2010 in the spirit of mutual aid and solidarity to support autonomous social struggles within the UK, to provide legal support for protests against the government’s wave of massive spending cuts.
The Common House
- a collectively-run space for community initiatives, activist groups and radical cultural projects. It is not just a venue to be managed but is an attempt to organise and maintain space, relationships and resources for radical ideas and practices in London.
Precarious Workers Brigade
- a UK-based group of precarious workers in culture & education. We call out in solidarity with all those struggling to make a living in this climate of instability and enforced austerity. Currently we are working around the following themes - Labour conditions (esp in the cultural and educational sector), Education/’The hidden curriculum’, Institutionalized precarity and the corporatisation of the arts & Solidarities.
The Movement for Cultural Democracy
- is a campaign group that are committed to the radical redistribution of funding to arts and cultural activities in the UK.
The World Transformed
- is supporting, developing and delivering political education across the UK in order to build a movement capable of radically transforming society. The World Transformed is organised by a group of activists from across the left and extra-parliamentary social movements & their volunteer network extends throughout the UK.
The Cooperative College
- is an educational charity who develop projects, undertake research and run workshops, courses & training for individuals, groups and organisations to help strengthen the UK co-operative movement.
Existing Online Resources
Shades of Noir: Creative Database
- The Creative Database is an ongoing project by Shades of Noir to archive and document creatives from various disciplines, including design, fine art, sound art, writing, film, fashion and photography. The Creative Database is an online space that champions creatives of all disciplines who do not tend to be celebrated in traditional and mainstream media, centring the achievements of people of colour in particular.
Seeds For Change: Online Resources
- an extensive collection of free, downloadable guides designed to help you be more effective in your campaign, co-op or project (with translations and non-English language adaptations for many of the resources). Including guides on
Campaign Skills, Consensus Decision Making, Facilitation, Skills for Working in Groups, Resources for Co-ops, Running Workshops.
Campaign Bootcamp: Resources
- Campaign Bootcamp are building a collection of campaign-training resources around so that anyone, anywhere can learn the essentials of how to make change happen. You can download them online for free.
Paying Artists: Resources
- The Paying Artists Campaign was launched in 2014 in response to the needs of our 25,000 members to secure payment for artists who exhibit in publicly-funded galleries. In that time, we have consulted nearly 2,000 individuals – artists, curators, funders, arts producers, museums, galleries, local authorities and other public commissioners. There has been great support and willingness from all corners of the sector to help shape and see guidance put into practice. a-n’s Exhibition Payment Guide published in 2016 provides sectoral advice for establishing and agreeing exhibition payments for the benefit of the whole sector; for organisations to establish best practice, for artists to sustain their careers and so that audiences can see art that reflects the full spectrum of human experience.
Green & Black Cross: Resources
- designed for those planning to organise or participate in direct action, these resources & guides walk you through the info you need to Organise & Pan an Action, deal with Police & Know Your Rights, get Legal Advice and Support Yourself & Others.
Precarious Workers Brigade: Resources
- Here are some tools that have come out of our working process. They are meant to be shared, used and developed - includes a guide on Surviving Internships, Bust Your Boss card, Template for a letter to art institutions that advertise unpaid internships, People’s Tribunal on Precarity & selected tools made and published by other groups.
for campaigners, activists & organisers - key resources and tools developed for NEON’s training programmes and day-to-day operations - includes reports on Framing The Economy, reading list & podcasts on understanding economic, political and social systems & power, Leadership Models, Systemic Campaigns Framework, templates and resources for writing strategies, running events and general planning & Systemic Movement Primer.
TWT Resource Hub
- TWT want to re-energise the Labour movement’s rich history of self-education, helping activists to organise and facilitate events to discuss politics, build networks and develop ideas and strategies to transform their communities. Although many of the guides are intended for Labour Party supporting activists, guides include transferable formats including Organising a panel discussion; Example Workshop & Session plans; How to Run a Reading Group; Round Table discussions; step-by-step guide to Organising a 1 Day Meetup Festival Event.
Artists on Boards
- a-n member Nicola Naismith wrote 2 x guides to encourage artists to consider being trustees on the board of arts organisations.
Arts Council England
- ACE have been gathering resources & case studies to support better Leadership and Governance in the arts. This collection includes podcasts; recorded keynote speakers & panel discussions; case studies and research papers.
Existing Online Training Programmes
Online Workshop: Notepad Warriors
- an online workshop by Scottee & Friends Ltd to help you channel your activisms creatively. Over four weeks you’ll be set assignments aimed at getting you making work with social and political clout. You’ll be sent a Notepad Warrior notepad, emailed weekly tasks that get your ideas onto paper, ready for the world.
Online Workshop: 30/30
- 30works30days, is a month long project for artists by 12ocollective where they are required to submit a new piece of work daily, every day for the month of April. If you fail to submit something on one of the days, you are out of the project.
United Voices of the World
- UVW is a members-led, campaigning general trade union (founded in 2014) which supports and empowers the most vulnerable groups of precarious, low-paid and predominantly migrant workers in the UK. We aim to unify disparate, atomised and increasingly precarious workers. A broad, intersectional definition of cultural work is needed in order to resist this exploitation, galvanise solidarity between all art-workers and hold institutions and bosses to account. UVW brings together design & culture workers, legal sector workers, strippers and other sex workers, architectural workers, and gender-based violence workers.
Artists Union England
- a specialist trade union representing people who work in disciplines including: Visual Art, Applied Arts, Socially Engaged Art, Moving Image, Sound and Performance (formed in 2016). In order to join, you must be an artist living or working in England for at least 6 months.
Scottish Artists Union
- a specialist trade union representing people who work as visual artists or applied artists in Scotland (formed in 2001). Any arts worker who cannot fulfill the full criteria as an artist can become an Associate member (no voting rights, limits on membership of executive committee etc). SAU is staffed by a small part-time team leading on membership, campaigning and learning.
- a general trade union which supports more than 145,000 members who work as scientists, engineers, tech experts and in other specialist roles, including curators & museum sector workers (formed in 2001). In January 2017, the broadcasting union BECTU merged with Prospect and remains a distinct sector of the union - representing 40,000 members who work in non-performance roles in broadcasting; film and cinema; digital media; independent production; leisure; IT and telecoms, and theatre and the arts. Prospect employ more than 50 full-time negotiators who act on your behalf, teams of pensions, legal and education experts, as well as policy, communications and organising colleagues.
University & College Union
(UCU) - a specialist trade union for academic and academic-related staff in universities, colleges, prisons, adult education and other post-16 training providers (formed in 2006). UCU’s 120,000 members work as academics, lecturers, teachers, trainers, instructors, researchers, administrators, managers, computer staff, librarians, postgraduate teaching assistants and other education professionals.
Books & Critical Texts - informing attitudes, strategies & tactics
: Too Close To See: Notes On Friendship, A Conversation With Johan Frederik Hartle
- artist Céline Condorelli discusses the practice of friendship, as a specific entry in relation to the large question of how to live and work together towards change, as a way of acting in the world.
[full text online]
: The Tyranny of Structurelessness
- by Jo Freeman
, was first printed by the women’s liberation movement, USA, in 1970
[full text online]
: Practicing Solidarity
- written by London-based artist and researcher Carla Cruz
, this research paper expands on notions of meritocracy and solidarity that have been examined by members of Common Practice and their associates, reviewing the increasingly competitive nature of the arts sector, and questions the consequences of opting out. It also highlights the emergence of cooperation and solidarity as strategies to overcome the competitiveness, individualisation and the precarity of those who work in the arts.
[full text online - current link broken!]
: Training for Exploitation? Politicising Employability and Reclaiming Education
- published by Precarious Workers Brigade
, this publication provides a pedagogical framework that assists students and others in deconstructing dominant narratives around work, employability and careers, and explores alternative ways of engaging with work and the economy.
[full text online]
: Some Feminist Collaboration in the Visual Arts
- written by Cynthia Bickley-Green
and Anne G. Wolcott
in 1996, thIs paper analyzes the effects of feminist collaboration upon the disciplines of art, the pedagogy of art, and the administration of art institutions.
[full text online]
: Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds
- Inspired by Octavia Butler's explorations of our human relationship to change, adrienne marie brown's Emergent Strategy is radical self-help, society-help, and planet-help designed to shape the futures we want to live.
: The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century
- Grace Lee Boggs
, a legendary figure in the struggle for justice in America, assesses the current crisis - political, economical, and environmental - and shows how to create the radical social change we need to confront new realities.
: Fearless Cities: A Guide to the Global Municipalist Movement
- The theoretical underpinnings of municipalism, including the politics of proximity and the movement's role in feminizing politics and stopping the far right. Includes practical organizing strategies and tools from municipalist platforms, from how to draw up a participatory manifesto to how to crowdsource funding or hold a neighbourhood assembly & examples of radical policies being implemented in town and cities across the world to guarantee the right to housing, remunicipalize basic services and democratize decision-making.
: Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals
- First published in 1971, Rules for Radicals is Saul Alinsky
's impassioned counsel to young radicals on how to effect constructive social change and know “the difference between being a realistic radical and being a rhetorical one.”
: Roots for Radicals: Organizing for Power, Action, and Justice
- Roots for Radicals is a distillation of the IAF (Industrial Areas Foundation) philosophy and its unique approach to community organizing. The IAF is the oldest and largest institution for community organizing in the United States. For sixty years, its mission has been to train people to take responsibility for solving the problems in their own communities and to renew the interest of citizens in public life.
: Little Black Book: A Toolkit for Working Women
- Writer Otegha Uwagba
takes you through everything you need to build a successful self-made career: from how to negotiate a payrise to building a killer personal brand, via a crash course in networking like a pro, and tips for overcoming creative block.
: Learning By Heart: Teachings to Free the Creative Spirit
- Corita Kent
(1918–1986) was an artist, educator, and advocate for social justice. Learning By Heart details the teaching methods developed by Corita Kent and her mentor, Sister Magdalen Mary at Immaculate Heart College in the 1950s and 60s.
: Stay Solid!: A Radical Handbook for Youth
- Compiled and edited by radical urbanist and educator Matt Hern
, with the assistance of the youth community at Vancouver's Purple Thistle Centre, Stay Solid! is for kids everywhere, and for anyone who considers themselves an ally—parents, teachers, neighbors, friends, relatives, and beyond.
: Small Change: The Art of Practice and the Limits of Planning in Cities
- Nabeel Hamdi
is one of the pioneers of participatory planning and his 2004 book, Small Change, has been highly influential in describing the role that informality plays in urban life. It sets out a way of thinking on cities that gives precedence to small-scale, incremental change over large-scale projects.
: Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good
- How do we make social justice the most pleasurable human experience? How can we awaken within ourselves desires that make it impossible to settle for anything less than a fulfilling life? Editor Adrienne Maree Brown
finds the answer in something she calls “pleasure activism,” a politics of healing and happiness that explodes the dour myth that changing the world is just another form of work. Drawing on the black feminist tradition, she challenges us to rethink the ground rules of activism.
: Teaching For People Who Prefer Not To Teach
- a manual that fits in your pocket by Mirjam Bayerdoerfer
& Rosalie Schweiker
. “It’s a messy collection of ideas: contributions our friends and colleagues sent us, our own learning experiences and rumours we heard.”
: Call Them by Their True Names: American Crises
- in a wide-ranging collection of essays, writer, historian & activist Rebecca Solnit
names and explores the root of American crises like the prison-industrial complex, affirmative consent & surveillance capitalism.
: The Overstory
- a novel by writer Richard Powers
, is a “sweeping, impassioned work of activism and resistance that is also a stunning evocation of—and paean to—the natural world” - a glorious novel that "takes activism" seriously.
: Pedagogy of the Oppressed
- First published in Portuguese in 1968, Pedagogy of the Oppressed was translated and published in English in 1970. The methodology of the late Paulo Freire
has helped to empower countless people throughout the world.
: The Company She Keeps
- artist Céline Condorelli
writes on friendship, considering this as an essentially political relationship, one of allegiance and responsibility. “Working together can both start from and create forms of solidarity and friendship, which are then pursued as both condition and intent, motivating actions taken and work undertaken.”
: Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee
- Dee Brown
's fully documented account of the systematic destruction of the American Indian during the second half of the nineteenth century. Using council records, autobiographies, and firsthand descriptions, Brown allows the great chiefs and warriors of the Dakota, Ute, Sioux, Cheyenne, and other tribes to tell us in their own words of the battles, massacres, and broken treaties that finally left them demoralized and defeated.