Scottish Artists Union

Office 231
The Briggait
141 Bridgegate
Glasgow G1 5HZ

t: 0141 559 4999


About the SAU

Our History


The Scottish Artists Union was formally constituted in 2001, becoming the first new trade union of the 21st century. This was predated by roughly five years of research and development on the part of a large group of artists who felt that the creation of such a union was vital. Artists across the country registered their support for the idea, giving the first Executive Committee a mandate to draw up a constitution, set membership fees and criteria.

Setting up a trade union for some of the most poorly paid workers in the country has been a delicate matter. Virtually any membership fee requested would, for at least some artists, be too much to ask. However we have always endeavoured to ensure that in material terms the benefits offered to members (in terms of discounts etc) more than compensate them for their annual fees.

Equally, we have attempted to establish as wide a remit as possible from the very beginning. There is virtually no discipline within visual art that does not qualify for membership, and it's likely that other existing unions will better serve those that do fall outside our remit. The criteria on which membership is predicated are designed simply to ensure that our membership is made up of professionals, but we do not concern ourselves with the substance of our members work. While we of course greatly appreciate art itself, we put artists and their working lives first.