Fair + Equitable Research Report

CVAN Englands is pleased to announce the launch of our research report: Fostering Equity in the Visual Arts Sector – Findings from the CVAN Fair and Equitable programme on creating conditions for artists and arts workers from underrepresented and marginalised communities to thrive.

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Written by Dr Cecilia Wee and Veionella Spaine, Fostering Equity in the Visual Arts Sector, has been prepared as an integral part of the Fair and Equitable programme pilot research and development phase, from September 2021-September 2022. The focus of this pilot year is on intersectional practice and the barriers and opportunities for artists and arts workers from marginalised and underrepresented communities – namely individuals who identify as part of Global Ethnic Majorities, disabled and neurodivergent, LGBTQIA+, migrant and working-class communities.

The Fair and Equitable programme comes at a crucial inflection point for the visual arts sector in England, the broader arts and cultural sector in the UK and society as a whole. Recent and ongoing transformations are informed by a complex interplay of contexts including the impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic; urgent calls to address racial equity and the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of the murder of George Floyd; shifts in funder priorities; national agendas around levelling up and addressing communities that are currently underserved; the cost of living crisis; global, political instabilities and the climate crisis.

Drawing upon findings from primary research of the Fair and Equitable programme, alongside existing research and broader Equity, Diversity and Inclusion work in the arts and cultural sector, Fostering Equity in the Visual Arts Sector identifies a number of emergent themes of: Intersectionality, Structural Conditions, Hopes for the future, Stages of Career and Building Cultures of Belonging. The report also presents recommendations for the visual art sector, under each theme.

The themes and recommendations in this report, Fostering Equity in the Visual Arts Sector, represent a starting point for our work in the Fair and Equitable programme.

We envisage that the programme will adopt shifting tactical and methodological approaches as it evolves from 2022-26, in response to changes within the visual arts sector, and to broader understandings of the politics of identity and resources.

Our focus is on equipping the sector to actively facilitate change, to ensure that work to foster equity is not simply a time-limited investment priority for funders and organisations but is thoroughly embedded into organisational practices across the sector. Above all else, this shift towards equity in the visual arts sector asks for organisations and stakeholders to take consistent and committed action, starting today.