Scottish Artists Union

Office 231
The Briggait
141 Bridgegate
Glasgow G1 5HZ

t: 0141 559 4999



About the SAU

Why should I join the SAU?
SAU is the ONLY representative voice for visual and applied artists in Scotland. Artists tend to work alone, but singly we have little influence or political 'clout'. Together we can, have and are continuing, to make policy-makers appreciate the needs and importance of artists in the Scottish cultural, social and economic scene.

On top of that you get amazing benefits and free public liability insurance!

How does SAU receive its funding?
By joining SAU you provide the Union with its ONLY income - we do not take grants from Government sources. The committee members are all voluntary but we have the usual expenses for keeping the Union going and continuing to find more ways to support artists.

How do I join the SAU?
Firstly check if you fulfill the membership criteria. These are not difficult for most professional artists, even new graduates can usually fulfill these. You can access all benefits including insurance whether you are an Associate or Full member, only voting rights are restricted to Full members.

Criteria are necessary to give the Union professional status which in turn backs up our credibility when we speak on your behalf. Next, you download and fill in the membership form and Standing Order form and post it to the address on the form. You can pay by cheque, but Standing Order offers you the choice to pay in monthly installments which is helpful for many with a tight budget, it also enables us to keep our management costs down. We must have your signature for Standing Orders which is why we cannot take online payments.

Can I be a member of the SAU and another union?
Yes. Although this is not the usual case, your working practice may extend across different areas that are not served by a single organisation. It is your decision if you feel that you need additional cover.

Can I join if I live in England or another country?
Technically we can only represent artists who live and or work as an artist in Scotland. (There are different legal and educational systems here). However an artist who lives elsewhere but who will be working on an extended arts project (more than 6 months) in Scotland can join for the year in which that work takes place. But we emphasise that our ability to represent you in any legal or similar way will only apply to the work you are doing in Scotland.

Do you have member's exhibitions?
SAU exist to represent artists politically and campaign on your behalf. It doesn't have a remit to exhibit members work and that is not its area of expertise. Other organisations exist to promote and showcase art work and specialise in running membership exhibitions. Please see the links section

Do you give out information?
SAU publishes information on the website relating to common issues that members face. We undertake research in areas of specific importance to artists and our reports on Rates of pay, Tax & Vat and Contracts can be found on this site.

SAU has very limited resources to respond to information enquiries, so in order not to waste our resources on undertaking tasks already being offered by others, we ask members to approach the following free services and websites. Cultural Enterprise Office has bases in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Dundee and Glasgow and provides a wide range of support and advice for artists. Creative Scotland's Help desk is also available at The craftscotland website hosts information for applied artist in Scotland. The Artists Professional Development Network site lists organisations across the UK that provide information to artists. Many of the organisations listed have web-based information relevant to artists in Scotland even though other parts of their service might be restricted to users in other locations.

Does the Union have any political affiliation?
No, we are independent.

Is the SAU a proper Trades Union or is 'Union' just a name?
The SAU is a recognised trade union that is registered with the Certification Office for Trade Unions and Employers Association and meets the requirements of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992.

Does SAU have links with any other Trades Unions?
Yes we have informal links with other Unions such as Equity, the Musicians Union, The Scottish Writers Union, BECTU, Transport & General Workers Union as well as the STUC.

What influence does the SAU have in Scottish politics?
SAU's remit is to be vocal on political issues affecting artists and works to have that voice heard in the most effective forums. We have made it our business to approach all MSPs on cultural issues and we have had meetings with the Cultural representatives in all political parties. These meetings have resulted in questions being asked in Parliament about support for artists. We have played an active part in responding to the Scottish Executive's Cultural Commission review and Culture Bill and have been invited to attend meetings within the Scottish Parliament as representatives of visual artists. At these forums we ensure that the needs and values of individual artists are articulated and not ignored within the current review and changes to cultural policy and arts infrastructure in Scotland. We are often placed alongside other representative bodies e.g. Musician's Union and Equity, and are therefore regarded as credible, representative voice for our members.

What is SAU's relationship with Creative Scotland?
We have no affiliation with or funding from Creative Scotland. We are in contact with Creative Scotland staff to monitor changes in policy and services and to the levels of support for individual artists and makers. We pursue any issues which give us cause for concern. Equally we support Creative Scotland when their actions are in the best interests of artists, e.g. the introduction of guidelines to galleries issuing contracts to artists as part of the Own Art scheme.

Does SAU provide speakers or representatives for open days / conferences?
Yes. The SAU is interested to develop discussions and promote its work in the arts at a variety of regional events. The executive committee will consider all requests via the email address.

Does SAU have a Facebook and/or Twitter page?
Yes, please search for 'the Scottish Artists Union Community Page' in Facebook or Click Here. Plus, you can now follow us on Twitter: @SCOArtistsUnion