So it's LEAVE!

Posted on: 24th June 2016 at 00:00
Posted by: PANDA
Location: International
Discipline: Other

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Dear members and colleagues

We assume that the majority of you will have voted Remain in the recent EU Referendum and will be feeling a mixture of shock, anxiety, disappointment and fear on learning the UK voted Leave.
Though so many things are uncertain, we know this:
  • Performance is a collaborative process and those that work within this sector understand the necessity of combining skill sets, perspectives and approaches to achieve a shared outcome which alone would not be possible.
  • For those working in the arts and particularly those who are freelance or leading small companies/venues, uncertainty is up there with death and taxes as a certainty. You possess incredible resilience.
  • People who join PANDA, do so because they believe in the value of networks, hubs, peer support, exchange and shared learning/information. They also believe in the value of freelancers, independents, micro-enterprise, arts and creativity and know these need and deserve support.
  • Most of you have high levels of expertise in working with and for, the marginalised and historically disadvantaged. You are so good at this for many reasons - whether you belong to these groups or your interests, motivations and qualities enable you to identify, engage and effect change. 
  • The creative sector has been recognised by government as positive in terms of economic growth and also as invaluable in an ambassador role abroad.
  • Artists create from their heart and their imagination and because of this, whilst often reflecting and responding to what they see/experience, the truth of their work is not easily compromised. 
  • We know the arts are a powerful means of awareness raising, social change, education, release, expression, reflection and explorations of 'other'/alternatives. 
So this is our conclusion. The UK's need for artists skills & qualities has never been greater, in terms of the economy, health, social services etc etc but also in terms of countering the rise of hatred, delusion, disintegration, fear, despair and isolationism. As individuals, you have already weathered economic and social blizzards. Now more than ever, those in the arts need to trust in the importance of our work and stand more firmly together to promote shared values - including collaboration, equality, diversity, creativity, freedom but above all.... hope & vision.
PANDA knows that whilst it hasn't capacity, political or financial clout to win any battle head to head with the 'big guys', we are able to quietly make a difference one person at a time and that people can effect change. We would urge you to join us in this approach. You are extremely powerful in that you communicate directly with people through means that cannot be confiscated and neither should be underestimated.
Each of us can make the lives of those we come into contact with that little bit better. We apply bespoke contribution directly where it's needed and therefore it can be received undiluted. The Arts are both immediate and long-lasting without even needing to be serious or 'worthy'. Plus, many pledge to work alongside you, sharing similar values and contributing what they can.
We may need to look for new strategies, approaches and partners and we may need to redouble our efforts to work together but between us, we can still make a difference and build a brighter future. If anyone can stimulate imaginations, challenge assumptions and touch hearts, surely those who work within the arts can?!
So please do not allow the EU Referendum result to set you back. All is not yet lost or decided. We now have a prospect of change ahead of us and we have a role to play in ensuring that change is positive. It's time for us all to roll up our sleeves and get stuck in but we need each others' support to remain strong. Are you with us?