Networks for Artists Who Educate

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Recent research conducted for the Edinburgh Gallery Education Forum into networks for artists who educate. Please see accompayning notes.

Recent research conducted for the Edinburgh Gallery Education Forum into networks for artists who educate. Please see accompayning notes.

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  • We had discussed at the EGEF in June the possibility of creating a pool of freelance artists, I wanted to see what kinds of networks already existed that we could tap into. It was also an opportunity to examine gaps in arts education provision due to the restructuring of The City of Edinburgh Council and how EGEF could play a part in addressing these. The recent engage Scotland & Creative Scotland funded BOP consultation report that looked into where training opportunities for artists who educate lie, along with the successful bid from Cerin Richards (ex-Creative Links Officer at CEC) provide need to examine existing artist educator network models and may provide opportunities to build on them or even redevelop them.
  • A Scotland based network of artists who educate would be useful to EGEF members because: It would improve the numbers of artist educators available It would simplify the search for trusted artists with specific experience It would allow better communication between artists, education providers and communities It would be a platform for professional training and development for artists and educators
  • Budget cuts to CEC = no more Creative Links team = lack of communication between arts organisations and schools/other community groups Currently no Scotland specific directory of artists that is accessible by schools or the general public Currently no free central hub of information for professional development, employment or training opportunities for artist educators in Scotland While this presentation recognises the implementation of a new Cultural Arts Manager at CEC, and the use of The Audience Business as a gateway for providing Cultural Ambassadors in schools across Edinburgh with education services offered by EGEF members, there is speculation that one person can do the job the pre-existing creative links team. Furthermore, there is doubt that TAB will be willing to take on the task of providing their existing database with continuous information in years to come. While there was also the “Arts for Excellence” publication in March 2009 that was meant to bridge the gap that the Creative Links Team and schools, it isn’t available online, doesn’t provide a full list of freelance arts educators and hasn’t resulted in any enquiries (check this with other orgs aside from FMG) With more and more emphasis on the Curriculum for Excellence ecouraging schools to incorporate cross-disciplinary learning with an emphasis on using resources from local communities the second point is very relevant. Other community groups (and EGEF itself) could also benefit from having a directory of artists for arts education projects at various levels. The lists that are available are either only available to members (not ideal for schools), not easily accessible or clear, or private lists held by CEC and possibly other local councils and arts organisations that wouod be more beneficial if shared. The last point really addresses the problem that schools and EGEF members both face in terms of accessing artists that are well trained, experienced or even enthusiastic to become involved in specific projects. Most small arts organisations depend on word of mouth, submission of cv’s (that often become dusty and out of date) or relying on the same artists. I think a network would open up the gamut of artists who educate providing more potential employment and pd opportunities for artists, as well as expanding on the types of education projects that can happen within galleries and the wider community (whether that’s through schools using the network to contact artists directly instead of relying on EGEF members to do so for them) or whether EGEF members use the network for their own education programming. This was supported by the research found by BOP when asking artists about training opportunities. 8/10 artists contacted (most being visual artists) were part of at least 1 network. When asked about what they felt were barriers to training provision in arts education, artists identified a lack of a central source of information that is specific to teaching artists. P.10
  • A strategic framework needs to be developed and driven by a lead body (CS) and art form networks Page 30 A ring-fenced fund for professional development for teaching artists additional to what CS currently offers First point illustrated on page 33 Third point illustrated on page 35 -EGEF has £2000 to do professional development training for teachers and to develop an art sack to distribute to schools. -since Cerin left CEC, The Fruitmarket Gallery was asked to hold the funds, however chair of the EGEF, Johnny Gailey, suggested awaiting the arrival of the new Arts Manager at CEC. All agreed - All agreed emphasis was on creating an electronic art sack as a pdf/web resource. -There was discussion about professional development training for teachers: -workshops/seminar/take home packs? -to promote what arts organizations do? -could get feedback from teachers as to what kind of training would be useful -it could be timed with the National Association of Education teacher training conference Creativity Portal (Learning Teaching Scotland and Creative Scotland) could be expanded to include a freelance artist educator database as well as the existing arts organisation database. Glow could also be used here, although is not yet accessible by schools. The creativity portal would also be well positioned for access by other groups.
  • Specific information relating to teaching artists that is central (easily accessible both geographically and across artforms) e.g. to find out more about working in schools and communities or with organisations - codes for best practice, templates for contracts, guides for working with the Curriculum for Excellence etc. Access to networks must be made obvious - where are they being advertised? Is it Free to join?- access for artists to peers so they can practice informal learning, share knowledge, news and opportunities and collaborate. Access must be made easy! The site itself must be accessible and available for artists to showcase/advertise themselves. To feel that the body they are a part of also represents them as part of a profession of arts education. This could tie in with BOP’s research findings about artists and employers desire for teaching artists accreditation
  • Specific information or guidance about how to work with artists within various contexts e.g. schools, communities, galleries etc especially in terms of working with the Curriculum for Excellence and following codes of practice e.g. pay scales etc. Access to other organisations for information sharing, case studies, conferences or even just details for referring queries to the right organisation; to an up to date database of practicing artists (not just those with formal qualifications or reputations) detailing skills, discipline, experience etc; to opportunities such as following and contributing to continuous dialogue and also have the ability to signpost opportunities for artists to meet specific needs of the org; access to doing this! Site needs to be easy to use for this purpose and free or subsidised. Assurance that the artists within the database have the appropriate skills in place - following BOP’s suggested framework e.g. experience - various types - , references, evidence of CPD, interests as well as formal qualifications
  • ‘ Successful models in Scotland, UK and Worldwide’ is an overview of what kinds of networks for artists exist in Scotland and how they compare. Criteria was - ease of navigation, cost to join, cost to search, searchable criteria (name, type of work, experience, area/target audience, geography) and also assessed each site for how much material they featured relating to the profession e.g. employment opportunities, professional development opportunities, training, conferences etc) I approached this in much the same way as an artist would, who wanted more experience in finding networks to lead onto employment, training opportunities and also what artist schools might like to work with. looked to both the old Scottish Arts Council and Creative Scotland websites but found no network or database on site , despite the fact that sites such as engage’s educator locator site includes Scottish artists.
  • I began with Central Station as it’s fast becoming a well known networking site for Scottish artists/creatives and I had been recommended it by a friend. Funded by Creative Scotland and Scotland based Online artist community (1463 artist members) rather than education/artist database Can search through portfolios by location/discipline but dependent on user settings only helpful if artists have “tagged” themselves as educators can view work online free Difficult to navigate
  • engage - Educator Locator - UK based Funded by a number of arts organizations and councils inc. Arts Council England and Creative Scotland Specifically designed for searching for artist educators free to search Easy to navigate but limited search fields - areas (location), names, specialty Lack of entries (53 in UK, 6 from Scotland) Membership costs to join database Engage has recently updated their website with a separate page for pdp, however there is limited information (2 documents regarding how to start working in arts education)
  • AXIS - UK based Contemporary artist database rather than education searchable by location/medium/style and can search for “education” but like central station is dependant on user input free to search 211 Scottish listings, of which 59 are education related artists - you can now filter results on the right hand side by artist practice “educational experience – early years” “educational experience – primary” “educational experience – secondary” “educational experience – special needs” “educational experience – tertiary” or “workshops” Paid membership and application needed to join database - not so bad if professionalism is what you’re after - site looks good Access to other relevant sector info such as conferences etc.  
  • A-n magazine’s Networking Artists’ Networks - UK based Contemporary artist network or collective database rather than individual artists who educate, although emphasis is on artists who work with communities Used to be free to search, however now requires log in details. In October 2010, was searchable by location/type inc. “education” (27 under education, 1 is Scottish) like central station is dependant on user input Membership fees to add your network to the database Access to other relevant sector info such as conferences, PDP opportunity listings and advice from a-n is great
  • National Society for Education in Art and Design - UK based No database but a membership programme open to school teachers and arts educators from museums and galleries Funded by various patrons and The Athene Trust links to their website Specifically designed as a national authority and trade union for arts education clear and easy to use info about how the database is managed pdp info, resources, notice boards, specific info for schools although a little light on other types of work e.g. galleries, case studies etc
  • Arts Council Wales - Wales based Not sure about the status of this- this screen shot was from a previous page that has since vanished. Funded by Arts Council Wales part of their website and once immediately asked you to join, now there is no evidence of a directory, although by going to the different arts forms it states they are working on the arts directory. Specifically designed as a national arts directory although not sure if it is for artists or organisations – there is a pdf criteria document that you can download (only accessible if you search for “directory” in the search box at the top of the page), however it seems that only individuals, organisations or events that have received funding from the council will be listed. clear and easy to use, this previous site looked professional no info about how the database is managed no pdp info or case studies etc
  • Common Room - Ireland based Funded by Visual Artists Ireland links to website (Vis Arts Ireland have their own membership which you pay for either as a professional or an associate) Specifically designed as a social networking community for artists to post events and share ideas and network with Irish, Bristish and international artists etc. – boasts over 1000 members clear and easy to use Free but have to be a member to access search for artists
  • National Association for the Visual Arts - Australia based Funded by memberships and Federal Government Mostly clear and easy to use - directory of artists can be found through the “gallery” section and searchable through different art froms, however is problematic as it is but dependant on if they have noted they are educators Can search for artists and organisations for free Have to be a paying member to join and access other information such as pdp, research publications etc. info about how the database is managed pdp info, case studies, news and events, gallery, research publications, grants and opportunities, careers and industry guidelines and templates etc
  • National Art Education Association - USA based Funded by memberships Specifically designed as a national directory for arts in education clear and easy to use Have to be a member to search info about how the database is managed pdp info, case studies, news and events, gallery, research publications, grants and opportunities, careers etc
  • Maine Arts Commission - USA based Funded by local government Specifically designed as a state directory for arts in education clear and easy to use including good links to other sites Free to search Searchable criteria by category/discipline/county//keywords – can search for “arts educator” and a list of both artists and organisations come up. info about how the database is managed pdp info, grants, programmes etc
  • Artscape - UK based Funded by Arts Council England but no link from or to their website Specifically designed as a national directory for arts in education – now is a national directory for education writers was clear and easy to use Was free to search Had searchable criteria by name/genre/region (inc. worldwide)/target group/keywords Registration was free but need an enhanced disclosure check and 2 references from 2 projects 587 members, 14 in Scotland no info about how the database is managed no pdp info or case studies etc
  • Databses for both employers and artists. The current NAVA, Creative Portal, Axis, Maine Arts Commission and previous artscape models are good for their layout, ease of use, design and the quality of information provided – but it is noted that thy would have to be built on, e.g. combining the strengths of each site. The most important factor is the search function for artists – Maine, AXIS and the previous artscape sites are the best here. It is advisable to search for “name, genre, region, target group and other keywords”, making sure education experience (whatever level) is something artists have to enter and something that is searchable. Welcome page that describes what the site is, who it’s for, how to use it, further details such as who set the site up, if it represents a particular group how is this done? Sites such as NAVA, NSEAD and engage’s Educator Locator do this well. Free to search and free to join - obviously this may not be feasible so perhaps a subsidised fee depending on status of org or even artist, perhaps membership is only available as long as criteria is met as with artscape? However, since my least search for networks in October 2010, the number of artist networks seems to be diminishing, and those that are still there are becoming increasingly inaccessible due to both financial and navigational reasons. Has to be user friendly for both parties and provide some sort of arena for network members to get in touch with each other (e.g. online community space for news, events, notices, current projects etc) to allow organic partnerships to happen – sites that feature a social networking format such as the common room, Central Station and even AXIS provide opportunities for artists to communicate much as they would in the real world, by being able to comment on other people’s work, experiences, to discuss current issues and share ideas and opportunities without feeling as though their professional practice is being monitored. It also provides an opportunity for education providers to find out more about the creative professionals the could employ – something that CV’s and qualifications don’t often provide insight into. Relevant information e.g. links to sites on specific areas of practice such as early learners, special schools, community education, etc and have documents available that outline best practice/codes of practice/templates for practical activity. Again, NAVA, NSEAD and engage do this well, it would be easier for users if this information was kept closer to artist databases.

Transcript

  • 1. Networks for Artists who Educate 25 January 2011 Kate Martin The Edinburgh Gallery Education Forum
  • 2. Contents
    • Why do we need networks?
    • Successful models in Scotland, UK and Worldwide
    • What might artists need from an artists network?
    • What might educators need from an artists network?
  • 3. Why?
    • To improve EGEF’s access to artists for education work
    • To address gaps in arts education provision in Scotland
    • To act on recent opportunities presented by Creative Scotland/engage research and changes in CEC structure
  • 4. Improving EGEF’s Access to Artist Educators
    • Improve numbers of educators
    • Simplify searching
    • Allow better communication
    • Provide a platform
  • 5. Address Gaps in Arts Education Provision in Scotland
    • Lack of communication between arts organisations and schools/other community groups
    • No Scottish directory of artists that is accessible by schools or the general public
    • No free central hub of information for professional development, employment or training opportunities for artist educators in Scotland
  • 6. Recent Opportunities
    • BOP report - “Mapping of Training Opportunities for Teaching Artists” recommended
    • A central teaching artist database managed by a lead network
    • Changes within CEC
    • EGEF has £2000 to go towards developing the role of Cultural Ambassadors in Schools
    • Development of the Creativity Portal
  • 7. What Might Artists Need from an Artists Network?
    • Specific information
    • Access
        • To peers
        • To employers
        • To opportunities
        • To the site itself
    • Representation
  • 8. What Might Educators Need from an Artists Network?
    • Specific info
    • Access
        • To peers
        • To artists
        • To opportunities
        • To the site itself
    • Assurance
  • 9. Successful Models in Scotland, UK and Worldwide
  • 10. Current Networks in Scotland - Central Station
  • 11. Current Networks UK - engage Educator Locator
  • 12. Current Network UK - AXIS
  • 13. Current Network UK - a-n Networking Artists Networks
  • 14. Current Network UK - National Society for Education in Art and Design
  • 15. Current/Previous Network UK - Arts Council Wales
  • 16. Current Network Ireland - Visual Artists Ireland’s “Common Room”
  • 17. Current Network Worldwide - National Association for the Visual Arts (Australia)
  • 18. Current Networks USA - National Art Education Association
  • 19. Current Network - USA - Maine Arts Commission
  • 20. Previous Network UK - artscape
  • 21. Recommendations
    • Databases with clear, concise search fields
    • Welcome page
    • Free to search for employers
    • Free for artists to join
    • Usability and connectability
    • Relevant information