2024 – 2026
Art Walk Projects is a contemporary artist-led organisation situated in Portobello, a coastal suburb of Edinburgh 3 miles east of the city centre. We work collaboratively with artists and communities to create experimental, ambitious environmental art projects embedded in place and local ecologies involving the North coast of Edinburgh.
Art Walk Projects operates as a community interest company, set up initially as Art Walk Porty in 2015 consisting of four company directors including founding member Rosy Naylor. Last year the organisation took the decision to start to implement a board structure to support the increased growth of the organisation’s year-round programme and staff structure. The board currently consists of 5 number of people. All Art Walk Projects staff are currently contracted on a part time, freelance basis.
Though we are a small organisation with no full time staff, we are keen to make a commitment to Fair Work for everyone we work with, including artists, freelancers and temporary staff. Many of our actions and ways of working, as outlined below, already show our implementation of the principles of Fair Work, and as our capacity increases we will take further action to ensure and enhance this commitment.
What we already do
We recognise the importance of Effective Voice in underpinning all other dimensions of Fair Work. We value the voices of those we work with, aiming to create a space for open dialogue through collaboration and co-creation as key elements of our programme and organisation. We aim to create clear channels of communication to ensure that everyone we work with feels safe and comfortable to use their voice both individually and collectively. We follow the guidance of sector relevant organisations and unions representing collective voice on issues such as rates of pay and contracts.
Our approach is to involve all staff in discussions about the growth of the organisation and ongoing programme. We respect all opinions in this way and where appropriate we try to include all in the future planning of projects and the way we work as an organisation. Our approach to working with artists is discursive and collaborative, ensuring that our programme is shaped by those we work with.
We will ensure our board is accessible and approachable to staff and artists by publicising who are members of board are, and we will enable board members and staff to have 1 – 1 meetings.
We will commence a system of staff annual reviews that opens channels for discussion and feedback. We will aim to recruit board members with knowledge and skills in the area of effective voice.
What we already do
Art Walk Projects strives to be an inclusive and accessible workplace, and this approach is embedded into our recruitment process. We aim to attract applicants from diverse backgrounds by advertising roles widely, encouraging applications from those under-represented in the arts, and providing clear role descriptions and rates of pay in all advertising. We support flexible working and working from home, and will make any reasonable adjustments to ensure accessibility. This approach is also followed when working with artists, and access budgets are made available for all projects. We recognise that different groups face different barriers to participating and working in the arts, and aim to fully understand and break down these barriers in our working practices. We work with a variety of people, groups, and organisations to better understand these issues, and are continually open to learning and improvement.
We have offered paid internships in the past at above living wage rates, and any internship opportunities we offer going forward will always be paid at appropriate rates. We have an ongoing mentoring programme with ECA, giving students valuable experience of organising and producing exhibitions with support from Art Walk Projects’ Director and an ECA tutor. We also aim to provide opportunities to commissioned artists which will help them gain new skills and experience.
We will begin encouraging all applicants to fill out an equalities monitoring form when applying for a role with us so we can ensure we are attracting people from a range of backgrounds to work with us. We will continue to try to increase diversity in our staff, board, and artists we work with. Further actions are laid out in our Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Action Plan.
We will continue to support staff training and development, and will seek funding which may facilitate this. We remain open to learning and adapting as an organisation to ensure that we offer fair and equal opportunity to all.
What we already do
We value the wellbeing and fulfilment of those we work with. We support flexible working to accommodate staff and artists’ access needs and wellbeing, and are in regular contact with artists through online and in person meetings to support them throughout their projects. Our residency approach to the programme accommodates slowly emerging projects which support artist wellbeing and growth. We aim to create an environment where the people we work with are able to develop and make full use of their skills, and support opportunities for staff to pursue further training and upskilling.
In the past we have provided paid internship opportunities, and we will continue to find ways to support development for young people and emerging artists. We arrange artist meet-ups for artists across our programme to meet and network with each other, as well as regular one on one meetings with the Artistic Director and Programme Coordinator to support artists in the development of their work.
We will continue to seek funding and opportunities for training and development, and build fulfilling work into our approach to the organisation and programme. We will aim to recruit staff and commission artists, who share values and aims with our organisation to ensure that those we work with feel passionate about our programme and fulfilled by the work they do with us.
What we already do
Respect is present in our approach to every other element of Fair Work. Art Walk Projects is an organisation that respects and values all staff, artists, board members, and anyone we work with, aiming to create an environment free from bullying and harassment.
We aim to create a forum for critical debate and dialogue, and respect is key to facilitating this. We value differing perspectives, and aim to treat everyone we work with respect and dignity regardless of role and status in the organisation, valuing all contributions to our work. We extend this approach to people applying to work with us in our recruitment practices, to artists we commission and work with, and to all staff, board members and volunteers.
We will continue to value respect as a key aspect of how we work with people, and will further consider how we can address possible issues such as bullying and harassment, equality and diversity, health and safety, mental health and work-life balance. This may include developing further policies and processes in these areas.
What we already do
The security of those we work with is important to us, and all staff and artists we work with are provided with clear contracts prior to beginning work with us, providing details of pay rates, when payments are made, and what their expected duties/outputs are. We are additionally committed to paying all invoices on time without delay. All of our staff roles are currently contracted on a freelance basis, however Fair Work principles are also embedded in how we work with freelancers.
We are committed to providing fair pay, and refer to Scottish Artist Union and Artists Information Co (a-n.co.uk) guidelines when determining artists’ remuneration rates. For staff roles we use rates in line with industry standards and consult resources such as Creative Scotland’s Rates of Pay Signposting Guide. In the past we have offered paid internships and short term contracts to support festival delivery, which have all paid above living wage. We do not use zero hours contracts.
If we move to a PAYE system in the future we intend to be a Living Wage employer. We will continue to seek funding to ensure that we can offer further security in terms of contracts and pay. We will continue to engage with relevant resources, organisations and unions to ensure that we are providing appropriate security to everyone we work with.
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: Art Walk Projects strives to take an equitable approach to all aspects of the delivery of our artistic programme and the development of the organisation. We will endeavour to take account of the complexity of difference, widen access and wherever possible provide an equal experience for audiences. In addition we seek to engage those who have previously felt excluded from contemporary art. Working towards this, we have an Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Action Plan which sets out our commitments and actions.
Volunteering: Festival delivery has in the past been supported by a number of local volunteers, many of whom have been involved with Art Walk Porty for a number of years. We are likely to continue to engage with volunteers in this way as part of our community involvement. We have a Volunteering Policy in place which is compliant with guidance issued by Volunteer Scotland.
Internships: In the past we have offered paid internships as a training and development opportunity. If we do so again we will comply with Fair Work Recruitment Guide guidance on this, and internships will always be paid at living wage or above.
Zero hours contracts: We do not use any zero hours contracts. Where we employ staff temporarily it is on a freelance basis with a clear contract and defined hours, paid at an industry standard rate.
Living wage: While all staff are currently employed on a freelance basis, we will look at moving to a PAYE system in the future, especially if roles become full time. If this happens we intend to be a living wage employer.