REALISE your right to art

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“REALISE represents a powerful notion with an ambitious agenda setting vision”  Baroness Lola Young, OBE, REALISE London Launch, Nov 2005.

REALISE your right to art advocates for the placement of art at the heart of people's lives, public policy and the political debate. Its aspirations  form the underlying principles and context for VAGA's advocacy, policy and campaigning.

In 2004 VAGA commissioned the think piece A Right to Art, Making Aspirations Reality from Demos. This argued that a 'Right to Art' is enshrined, simply and straightforwardly, in the 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and that
as a signatory to the UN Declaration the British government has a responsibility to make this aspiration a reality.

  • Current policies preach the principle of universal access to visual art, but this is not being achieved in practice.

  • Not just cultural policy, but educational policy must address the problem of society's lack of visual literacy.

  • The contribution of visual artists to the economy is underestimated and misunderstood.

  • To encourage visual literacy and the exercise of the right to art, a new language must inform public policy.

  • That language is the language of public value, where the instrumental drives of social and economic policy find a new context in the moral, creative and collective values expressed by the right to art.

The  REALISE Statement, setting out the long term aspirations embodied in a right to art was published in the autumn of 2005.


REALISE your right  to art  was led by the following steering group: 

  • Sandy Nairne, Director,  National Portrait Gallery
  • Maurice Davies,  Museums Association
  • Vicky Dyer, Independent Political Adviser, VAGA Executive
  • Stephen Foster, Director John Hansard Gallery, University of Southampton, VAGA Executive
  • Peter Jenkinson OBE, Cultural Broker
  • Keith Khan OBE, London 2012
  • Andrew Nairne, Director,  Modern Art Oxford and  VAGA Chair at the time
  • Andrew Wheatley, Cabinet Gallery
  • Erica Bolton, Bolton and Quinn
  • Hilary Gresty, VAGA
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