Who We Are
ISAN is a leading national membership organisation for the strategic development of Outdoor Arts. We develop the Outdoor Arts sector through networking, lobbying, information-sharing, training, research and advocacy support and advice for our members. We also provide general sector services. We represent 100 members comprising artists, producers, presenters, promoters and support agencies working in Outdoor Arts in the UK and Ireland. We are committed to supporting Outdoor Arts in all its forms and advocating its benefits and practice.
We are a not-for-profit organisation in receipt of NPO funding from Arts Council England.
ISAN members strongly believe in developing outdoor arts as an art form – presenting high-quality work that creates a dynamic relationship with a very large and steadily growing audience.
Our members are individuals and organisations who actively support and participate in the development of outdoor arts in their professional work. Our members include festivals, venues, local authorities, independent producers, artists and support organisations such as agents, trade associations and funding bodies.
Our members are from all over the UK, and we have a number in Ireland. Artists are also welcome to join us – and we work closely with organisations that represent street artists, such as NASA.
If you are interested in joining ISAN please go to the Join Us section on this site.
What We Do
Our overall aim is to develop outdoor arts in all their forms. We do this by:
- Commissioning and publishing research and guidance (eg Health and Safety guidance, Access Toolkit etc).
- Providing a forum for networking and discussion.
- Organising general meetings (about three a year) where members discuss and debate key issues, network, collaborate on shared programming and established priorities for ISAN in coming months. The General Meetings also approve ISAN financial accounts and elect the Isan board on an annual basis.
- Organising conferences and symposia events on specific themes – open to members and non-members.
- Running training courses and a professional development programme.
- Highlighting and facilitating UK and international collaboration opportunities for members.
- Sharing information via email for members.
- Investing in and encouraging investment in new work.
- Acting as an independent voice for outdoor arts – doing presentations throughout the UK and making the sector’s views heard by Government, Arts Councils, Regional Arts Boards, local authorities.
- Having a Code of Practice for all members to abide by.
Staffing and Governance
Members of staff are:
- Helen Cadwallader joined ISAN as Director in January 2012.
- Tomas Thornton joined ISAN as General Manager in January 2013.
As a voluntary organisation ISAN has a normal board structure consisting of Chair and Treasurer. The 2012 board of ISAN includes:
- Bill Gee (BGA) – Chair
- Robin Morley (Magnetic Events) – Treasurer
- Bev Adams (The Faceless Company)
- Paul Anderson (UKCCA)
- Neil Butler (UZ Arts)
- Mira Kaushik (Akademi)
- Maria Oshodi (Extant)
- Liam Rich (Chelmsford Borough Council)
- Sian Thomas (Independent)
- Frank Wilson (Event International)
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A Brief History of ISAN
ISAN came into existence in the late 1990s when a group of like minded promoters began to meet, network, pool resources and lobby for greater investment in outdoor arts, particularly from Arts Council England and local authorities.
Arts Council of England awarded a grant to ISAN for 2000-2002. This enabled us to employ a part-time coordinator to development the organisation and work on its behalf. Our first co-ordinator was Bill Gee (who is now ISAN Chair).
In 2002, we were awarded a RALP, which enabled us to employ a freelance Project Manager to look after a number of specific strands of work.
Since then the organisation has gone from strength to strength and in 2008 ISAN was awarded RFO status by Arts Council England. We have been commissioned to undertake groundbreaking projects and advocacy programmes, and have produced guidance and publications, which are acclaimed not only in the outdoor arts sector, but reaching across boundaries into events practices of all genres.
We are committed to developing outdoor arts in the UK and believe now is the time for this art-form to be whole-heartedly embraced in the UK as it has been in other countries such as France and Spain.
Code of Practice for the Engagement of Artists
ISAN aims to promote good practice in outdoor arts. One of the ways we do this is by having a Code of Practice for the Engagement of Artists, which ISAN members sign up to. It The Code of Practice for the Engagement of Artists governs the relationships between promoters and outdoor artists or companies – recognising the professional nature of this relationship. It is based upon eight clear principles; equal opportunities practice; good practice with application to different contexts including presenting, commissioning, consultancy and residencies and workshops.
We encourage anyone working in outdoor arts to adopt the principles set out in the Code of Practice for the Engagement of Artists, irrespective of whether they are an ISAN member.