Sunday 25 October, 2020

Arts Association seeks sector-specific terms for grant relief payments

A collective of Arts Associations is calling for sector-specific terms for the Arts when it comes to the salary grant relief programme.

The group, which met over three days from April 7 to 10, is also calling for the establishment of a new application form and guidelines to enhance the existing grant application process for those defined as "Self-Employed in the Arts”.

The Associations that met are the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation (TUCO), National Drama Association of Trinidad and Tobago, the Trinidad and Tobago Animation Network (TTAN), Filmmakers Collaborative of T&T (Filmco), the Photographers Guild of Trinidad and Tobago, the Trinidad and Tobago Craft and Art Producers Association, the Trinidad and Tobago Craft Entrepreneurs (TTCEN) and  the National Parang Association of Trinidad and Tobago

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Out of these discussions, the Arts Association Collective identified seven recommendations for enhancing the process of the grant application including the ability of arts associations to recommend applicants and eight pieces of work as evidence of self-employment in the arts. 

Below are the recommendations.

Recommendation 1 - A more sector-specific definition of "Self-Employed in the Arts” is required, as this may encompass categories not generally recognised in traditional terminology. The following “Self-Employed persons in the Arts” derive their income from the Cultural and Arts sector:

  1. You own your own business and pay NIS for yourself.
  2. You own your own business and do not pay NIS for yourself.
  3. You do not own your own business and do not pay NIS but earn a living by freelancing.
  4. You do not own your own business and do not pay NIS but earn a living by self-generated creative work.
  5. You have periods of low/no activity interspersed with high seasons of employment activity.

Recommendation 2 - The creation of an APPLICATION “FORM C” with adjusted terms specific to the Arts. This is in addition to the existing APPLICATION FORMS A & B currently in use.

Recommendation 3 – In “FORM C” only one recommendation should be required and this should be from an authorised official of a verifiable Arts Organisation.

Currently, for Self-Employed persons to complete their application for grants, the application must be supported by two recommendations from “verifiable sources” as detailed on the Assessment/Declaration Form. The group proposes that only one recommendation be required and this should be from an authorized official of a verifiable Arts Organisation of which the applicant must be a member in good standing, in accordance with the Bye-Laws or Constitution of said organization, as detailed on the Assessment/Declaration Form.

Recommendation 4 - Arts Associations to be recognised as Recommenders/Endorsers for applicants under the Grant application process for "Self-Employed" persons in the Arts. 

These Arts Associations will be identified by list and verified either by Act of Parliament, Trinidad and Tobago Coalition of Services Industries membership, Legal/Registered NGO or NPO Status or have 3 consecutive years of operation with a registered membership database and a constitution.

Recommendation 5- Existing directories and membership databases be accepted as a form of verification for "Self-Employed" workers in the Arts. These will include: the National Registry of Artists and Cultural Workers, also known as “the Artists Registry” and the Craft Artisan Registry, which both fall under the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and Arts, the FilmTT Production Directory along with any other public databases under CreativeTT, which falls under the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the membership databases under listed and verified Arts Associations.

Recommendation 6- Self-Employed persons in the Arts may provide to the Arts Association any of eight sources of evidence of work lost in the Arts due to the Covid-19 pandemic. These include projects registered under the Artists Registry, written evidence such as contracts/agreements, time-dated rehearsal attendance sheets, time-dated promotional materials, recurring referral letters, evidence of loss of expected income-earning opportunities or evidence of loss of seasonal employment.

Recommendation 7 - Ministries identified (list enclosed) are encouraged to facilitate any outstanding payments or accounts payable due to artistes or Arts industry practitioners for the period prior to and since March 1. Please note: Artists seeking redress for outstanding Government payments not exceeding TT$10,000 owed shall not be disqualified for Social Assistance Grants.


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