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Art Not Oil coalition statement re. coronavirus

Cultural institutions and arts organisation have taken the difficult decision to shut their doors as part of a nationwide response to the Covid-19 outbreak. Many took this decision unilaterally, rightly prioritising the need to protect the health and safety of their artists, visitors and staff. Many cultural organisations, venues and funders have already done the right thing by giving their staff and those they work with clear assurances that they will be paid and supported during this period. However, many still haven’t.

We stand in solidarity with members of the PCS Union, artists and cultural sector workers who are still facing uncertainty and call on their employers to commit to paying and supporting their staff during any closures, to provide the assurances that are needed and to be transparent in doing so. We know that front of house workers, those on zero hours contracts and freelance artists are facing particular uncertainty at this time. This must urgently be addressed.

The sector will now need additional support from government, in order to support artists and workers while current and future projects and opportunities are put on hold or cancelled. The Art Not Oil coalition believes that the cultural sector must be recognised for the contribution it makes to society and properly funded. A shift in how the government supports and sustains the sector is needed urgently now but also into the future, in order to protect workers, to respond to climate change and other challenges, and for art and culture to be accessible to everyone.