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Our Statement: Covid Impact Survey and what we're doing next

Our survey on the impacts of Covid-19
Since the beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak in the UK, our team has been gathering evidence from our members on the impacts being felt of immediate loss of work, loss of income, closures and cancellations. We have provided a range of support including digital, legal and peer-to-peer advice through our regular member Zoom meetings.

To add to this information, in the last two weeks of April we undertook a survey to collate information on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic from the wider visual arts community, to inform advocacy with government and funders. Read the full press release here.

What are the key results?

76% of respondents (both individuals and organisations) had lost income in April.

A third of individual respondents had lost 100% of their income in April. In organisations, 38% had lost 50% or more of their income.

As a result of the pandemic, 15% of organisations were fairly likely to make staff redundant; 19% were fairly or very likely to increase debt.

70% were likely or very likely to cancel programmes and projects, and 65% were fairly or very likely to see a lower positive impact on the public.

For both organisations and individuals, the primary means of support that would benefit them most is more funding (*28%* individuals, 91% organisations), followed by sector-level collective support and policy level support.

A large proportion of individual respondents were self-employed, and included artists, curators, technicians and educators. Those were PAYE tended to be in management or director-level roles. This shows the relative precarity of a sector that is dependent on workers filling a range of roles, combining self-employed and PAYE.

Read the survey summaries here, for organisations and individuals

What are we doing with these results?
We have already shared the results with Creative Scotland and the Scottish Government, with whom we meet to share impacts on a regular basis. We will share them with other cultural agencies including Culture Counts, Creative Industries Federation and Nesta’s Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre.

We have issued a press release based on the results, to raise public awareness of the long-term challenges that so many people in the visual arts community face.
We will be putting together a response to the Scottish Parliament’s Culture Committee, as part of its enquiry into the effects of Covid-19 on the culture sector.

How you can get involved in the next steps
We’ve listened, and now we want to act – with your help.

Over the next two weeks we’ll use our Zoom member meet-ups to focus on our new SCAN Platform; a set of six asks that we will make of politicians and political parties in response to Covid-19. Keep an eye on our socials for how to register.

SCAN Platform will be informed by our Visual Arts Manifesto, our guiding document which was formed in partnership with Scottish Artists Union and Engage Scotland.

It will also form the basis of our Art in Action campaign for 2020, which will begin later this year and will raise awareness of the value of contemporary visual art – both in lockdown and out – in advance of the 2021 Scottish Parliament elections.

What else are we up to?
We’ve updated our advice and information around Covid-19 to take into account the latest developments.

We continue to offer legal advice for employers through law firm Lindsays; this can be in relation to furloughing and the coronavirus job retention scheme, but also to other questions around employment law. Details here.

Remember that membership renewal is free throughout the duration of lockdown.

Date: 12 May 2020

Our Statement: Covid Impact Survey and what we're doing next