On the 24th of May, Praxis had its first meeting with the Arts Council of Ireland.
As part of our ongoing campaign to build an artist-led public funding applications system, Praxis’ Chairperson, Kerry Guinan, and Outreach Officer, Ruairí ó Donnabháin, met with Arts Council’s Director, Maureen Kennelly, and Strategic Development Manager, Toby Dennett. We put forward a number of proposals received from Praxis members along with results from surveys we ran internally.
Kennelly welcomed Praxis’ input in changes to the funding application system and thanked us for highlighting certain areas, particularly equality and accessibility, of which they admitted they’ve a lot more work to do.
The Paying the Artist policy (read the pdf here) was discussed and the Arts Council highlighted that it can’t demand rates of pay, the only organisation that can is a trade union. Dennett seconded our call for a sustainable ecosystem in the arts, but stressed, ‘we are not a representative body, so what you do is very important’.
We’ve been invited to work with the Arts Council in advocating for artists through information gathering and highlighting issues in our place of work, especially with regard to public funds. The Arts Council has agreed to Praxis’ request to be involved in changes to the application procedures. Amendments to the applications’ system were confirmed to us for early 2022. We are due to enter discussions about these changes within the fortnight and meet again formally in October.
Praxis will continue to work for its members in fighting for an artist-centred public-funding procedure, with fair access for all artists. This is just the beginning.
Get involved by joining the union: praxisunion.ie/join-the-union
Members should have received an extensive report on the meeting via email this week. We will continue to encourage transparency from the Arts Council and active participation from our membership during this campaign.
FULL MOTION FROM PRAXIS’ 2021 AGM
[This motion calls on the union to engage in] A campaign addressed to the Arts Council of Ireland to drastically improve their interfaces and funding application processes so that they are artist-centred and in line with EHRD and Paying the Artist policies. The current interface is not fit for purpose. Artists can spend up to one month on applications, losing valuable working time to a highly competitive process and there is no provision for artists who may not be able to complete a written application. The union demands that the Arts Council consult with Praxis to redesign their systems to better suit artists.
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