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The significance of institution in the processes of culture

On 6th November 2015 the Lithuanian Artists‘ Association organised an international conference to explore ‘The Significance of Institution in the Processes of Culture’ to celebrate their 80th anniversary in Vilnius. This event brought together a number of artist representatives that have been involved in the European Artists Rights project to share their experiences of artist working conditions in other regions and discuss organising models with the Lithuanian Artists.

The morning sessions introduced a number of themes from LAA speakers outlining elements of the Association’s history from the USSR days (1967-87), through independence and the reform movement, and current contemporary concerns.

The afternoon sessions introduced the Lithuanian Artist Association membership to the invited international guests:

Johan Wingestad (representing KRO/KIF) discussed how to put in place the legal and financial preconditions for the payment of exhibition fees to visual artists, using the Swedish MU model as a starting guide for consideration.

Pavol Král (President of the Slovak Union of Visual Arts) outlined the cultural life and social and legal status of the artists in Slovakia and how this condition has changed through troubled years – he also outlined a recent research document that provides an insight, from an international perspective, on the goal to improve the legal and social status of artists (recently discussed at the IAA conference).

Vano Allsalu (President of the Estonian Artists Association) outlined current working conditions for artists and management of studio buildings in Estonia.

Caroline Jane Wright (representative of the Artist Information Company/AIR) discussed the campaigning and leadership role of the ‘Paying Artist’ project in the UK – outlining how the campaign has been shaped by the needs and aspirations of AIR’s 19 000 visual artist membership and supported by evidential research and extensive negotiation with cultural institutions.

Hilde Tørdal (Chair of the Norwegian Association of Visual Artists) discussed the Norwegian artists methods to raise awareness on the poor conditions that visual artists work under and how their campaigns have gained public attention.

Chris Biddlecombe (executive member of Scottish Artists Union) and Guðrún Gísladóttir (representing Federation of Icelandic Artists) outlined the work they have carried out bringing artist organisations together through the European Artist Rights project – considering how artists develop creative working environments and make their voice heard to reveal positive methodologies of artists and institutions co-existing, cooperating and affecting change.

Article originally published on in November 2016.

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