How to Advocate at a Local Level

advocacyVisual Artists Ireland’s advocacy work is at the core of what we do. Both nationally and locally we are in constant communications both with our members and with people who can help bring change. But, as a grassroots organisation it is also important that this advocacy takes is undertaken by all visual artists who feel that they want to see change.

These national issues directly affect the lives of all artists and can be shared with other members of society. Some may be specific to Northern Ireland and others we operate on a UK wide level through our partnerships with other advocacy bodies. There are also specific issues that can arise in local areas. So, the purpose of this article is to act as a simple guide to assist you to enable change.

  1. To support your specific needs and the needs of the wider community, learn and understand Visual Artists Ireland’s advocacy positions and how to efficiently communicate the key points with your elected representatives, arts offices, and other people with influence. You can contact us with any specific questions that you may have, or point us in the direction of topics that are of specific concern to you;
  2. Help educate other VAI members within your community on how reform will affect each of you and why it is important to become involved in the political process. Visual Artists Cafés have been designed to help accomplish this as well as act as networking and development events. Get Together happens each year and is also a good place for you to meet with like minded people.
  3. If possible, create a local area network or special interest group. VAI can support you in this.
  4. Establish and develop a continuing personal relationship with your officials. As a constituent, member of the community, and an expert on the visual arts, your opinion and needs should be made important to them.
  5. Maintain your relationship with officials to keep communication open.
  6. Stay updated on your local voting history and activities. Express your opinion on your elected officials recent activities and your stature as an advocate will grow as will their understanding of VAI’s policy positions.
  7. Invite your officials to various community activities, such as small social gatherings or exhibition openings.
  8. Invite officials to visit your studio; this will allow them to be truly immersed in the day-to-day life of a VAI member.
  9. Stay up-to-date about upcoming local political functions and clinics.
  10. VAI actively supports a series of consultations that take place throughout the year. We encourage you to keep up to date with our advocacy, and actively participate in our calls for action. VAI sends out regular updates on specific actions or news about our own Advocacy programme through the eBulletin and in The Visual Artists News Sheet. We encourage you to ensure that your subscription and your membership is up to date. Your membership increases our mandate to speak on your behalf.
  11. Keep us informed of your local concerns and any activities that you have in place or any assistance that you may need, either individually or as a group. Our Help Desk is there for our members to use. We can also advertise any events that you have planned.

This website is an easy ay to find out who your local representatives are:

One caveat: We do not undertake personal missions. We operate for the good of all artists. But, if you have a specific need that we may be able to assist or advise on then drop us a mail or give a call to the office either in Belfast or in Dublin.