A Manifesto for Artists and the Arts

Updated: Jul 08, 2024

A Manifesto for Artists and the Arts, by Artists’ Union England: 5 Demands of the Next Government

The creative industries are one of the key growth industries in the UK (1) but have been systematically underfunded over the last 14 years. We continue to campaign for better pay and working conditions for artists, and at the same time, refuse to assign value purely on monetary terms. Instead, we call for the acknowledgement of the value of arts for society; in terms of creativity, wellbeing and mental health, education, understanding our complex histories, and the pivotal role the arts play in social justice and healing.

We call on the next government to:
1. Increase public funding for arts and culture, making it accessible to all.
AUE calls for:
• A restoration and increase of public funding of the arts, as well as the exploration of new avenues for funding artists, including start-up grants for cooperatives.
• More transparent and diverse appointments to Arts Council and other cultural bodies, with artist representatives involved in decision-making at every level.
• An end to nepotism and the opening of access to opportunities, influence and resources.
• Equality and an end to discrimination relating to protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010.

2. Fair pay and rights for freelance and self-employed artists and art workers
AUE calls for:
• An end to the low or no pay culture in the arts, recognising that much of the art sector is built on the backs of artists’ in-kind support.
• A recognition that art work is work, and that addressing artists’ precarious, low paid working conditions is crucial to addressing inequalities in the arts.

3. Ensure arts education is accessible for all
AUE calls for:
• Arts education to be restored to the curriculum and invested in, within Primary, Secondary, Further and Higher Education.
• Access to an arts education to be made accessible to anyone at any age, throughout their lives.

4. Create a sustainable future for artist practices
AUE calls for:
• A pilot UBI project to take place in the UK, drawing on the recent pilot in Ireland.
• Genuinely affordable studio provision for artists.
• New legislation to protect artists and creative workers intellectual property.
• Protection of artists’ rights in particular in regard to AI and its development.

5. Right to a decent standard of living for artists and other workers
AUE calls for:
• A commitment to tackle the housing crisis, austerity, and the cost of living crisis, in solidarity with other low-paid workers.
• Affordable housing as a human right.

A Manifesto for Artists and the Arts

Please help us spread the word! Download the Manifesto graphics and share them through your own social media, newsletters etc. You can download the images via the google folder link here.

1 From 2010-19 they grew more than one and a half times faster than the wider economy. In 2021 they generated £108 billion in economic value. Source: Government report ‘Creative Industries Sector Vision’ (2023)


Further Reading

Artists’ Union England is an active union and is constantly campaigning, producing resources and signposting opportunites for its members:




Membership Benefits

A membership to Artists’ Union England gets you professional support and access to resources. That means you’ll get:

  • Public and Products Liability (PPL) insurance
  • 30 minutes FREE legal advice
  • Access to resources about artists’ issues
  • FREE training and study opportunities
  • Tax guidance

Your membership means help will be there when you need it and we’ll constantly campaign for artist’s rights.

Ask a question  Join Now 

Artists’ Union England supports freelance artists based in England. in England.

Membership costs £42 annually – equivalent to £3.50 per month