In 2021, Coventry University and ArtTechSpace Ltd developed and delivered an Art Technician training programme to address the art technical skills shortage in the Coventry area. The training was created to introduce local Coventry people to the art technical profession, with the aim of creating a larger pool of skilled art technicians in the locality.
In partnership with ArtTechSpace, CVAN EM would like to run a similar programme for the East Midlands, by first establishing what the need is and understanding if there are similar issues in this region. Beginning in late 2021, we have been reviewing information and survey feedback from arts and culture organisations in the East Midlands. 12 organisations participated in an initial survey of needs, with a follow up discussion taking place in March 2022. The full report can be downloaded here and a project presentation by Sarah Titheridge of ArtTechSpace found here. You can find a summary of key points below:
A second phase will focus on engaging in a dialogue with art technicians in the East Midlands to understand how a training programme can best support them and what additional provision is required to establish and sustain best practice for originations working with freelance art technicians in the region.
● Nearly all the institutions we surveyed (11 out of 12) use freelance art technicians.
● Half of these institutions struggle to find skilled freelancers, with 8 out of 12 (67%) finding it even harder to find skilled local people.
● The main issues to sourcing freelancers was stated as institutions in the area scheduling their show changes at the same times throughout the year therefore using the limited pool of people all at the same times. Unitemps was stated as a recurring issue for sourcing freelancers as well.
● Because many institutions change shows at the same time, there are often floods and droughts of work for freelancers in the area.
● There is appetite from East Midlands art institutions for a training program for art technicians, with 9 out of 12 institutions (75%) saying they’d support the programme by offering work experience to the trainees.
● Furthermore, 5 institutions said they would have competent technicians to support their development by exhibiting best practice in their workplace.
● 8 institutions (73%) could also see the benefit for their in-house staff to refresh the skills they have and encourage best practice.
● There is a clear need for training of technicians in the East Midlands to bring in new people to the industry and to upskill those already working within the industry.
● The greatest need was for general art handling and AV / new media installation skills (7 institutions).