8.1.4 Support to professional artists associations or unions
Unions in the arts are not directly supported by government or the arts funding agencies. However, Arts Council England supports a number of visual artists associations and services. These include Axis, which provides information about contemporary artists through an online database, AN (the Artist's Information Company), which provides information for artists to enable them to develop their practice and employment, InIVA (the Institute of International Visual Arts), which supports the work of artists from other countries whose work is outside the main canon of arts criticism and teaching (http://www.iniva.org/), and the Contemporary Art Society, which for many years purchased work from contemporary artists and craftspeople to donate to museums. In the field of literature, support has been given to bodies such as the National Association of Writers in Education and the Arvon Foundation for writers and artists' residencies.
The UK Film Council has also supported a number of associations related to film, including the Production Guild of Great Britain and UK Screen, the trade association representing the UK film post-production and facilities sector.
Equity, the union of professional performers and other workers from the entertainment and cultural industries sectors, works in partnership with the Sector Skills Councils and other agencies and charities to provide career, legal, health and welfare benefits for its members as well as advocate for their rights (http://www.equity.org.uk/). Sector Skills Councils (SSCs), such as Skillset and Creative & Cultural Skills, are licensed by the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, in consultation with Ministers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, to tackle the skills and productivity needs of their sector throughout the UK.