ISM and a-n launch #FreeMoveCreate Jump to main content

ISM and a-n launch #FreeMoveCreate

The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM - the UK’s professional body for musicians) and a-n The Artists Information Company (the UK’s largest artists’ membership organisation) have today (Wednesday 12 July 2017) announced their collaborative campaign #FreeMoveCreate to protect freedom of movement for all who work in the creative industries.

#FreeMoveCreate represents the coming together of more than 30,000 musicians and artists from across the memberships of both organisations.

At the launch of the campaign, which took place at Toynbee Studios in London, a-n unveiled the results of their latest artists’ survey with more than 1,200 responses and the ISM shared the latest findings of its survey of the music workforce post-referendum, which received more than 830 responses.

Jeanie Scott, Director of a-n and co-founder of #FreeMoveCreate said:

“While our 2016 survey and open call told us our members were concerned about the uncertainty Brexit posed for their incomes and practice, our 2017 survey provides evidence these anxieties are now based on real life experiences.

“Travel can play a vital, stimulating role in an artist’s career development, and an open, stable market place is just as important to ensure they can afford the costs of making, selling and distributing their work in the UK and beyond. But our survey suggests a reduction in opportunities for artists in the last year, an increase in costs, and a reduction in sales through EU routes.

“We must make sure these issues, and our artists’ growing concerns, are heard within the many Brexit discussions and negotiations that will take place over the coming months. And we know their concerns are shared by individuals across many artforms – which is why #FreeMoveCreate will work to make sure our largely self-employed artist communities across the UK can engage with and contribute to the campaign.”

Deborah Annetts, Chief Executive of the Incorporated Society of Musicians and co-founder of #FreeMoveCreate said:

“Our surveys conducted just after the results of the EU referendum, along with discussion with our members, uncovered the number one priority for working musicians: freedom of movement across all European countries.

“Results showed that close on 60% of musicians placed maintaining freedom of movement as their number one priority. Our members travel to Europe upwards of 26 times a year, and the average tour length is seven days but some members are there for 60 days at a time. Our research shows that visas are not the solution and can cause even more problems.

“The issue of freedom of movement is not limited to just musicians – it affects everyone who works in the creative industries, including actors, artists, dancers, directors and technicians.”

“Freedom of movement is vital to our creative industries. We urge everyone who works in these crucial industries – whatever your trade might be – to sign up to Free Move Create when it launches on Wednesday.”

For more information about this vital campaign, visit

Notes for editors

The headline findings of a-n’s second Brexit survey

  • Survey of professional artists receives over 1,200 responses
  • 40% of respondents travelled regularly to Europe in the last 12 months for work or professional development (equates to 9,000 of a-n’s 21,000 members)
  • 53% who had travelled to the EU had average stays of between 4 and 7 days
  • The top 5 EU travel destinations amongst artist members topped by France, followed by Germany, Italy, Spain and The Netherlands – the 5 most wealthy EU countries by GDP
  • Initial analysis suggests 19% have seen an increase in costs related to their practice and materials, 13% have experienced a negative impact on sales, a further 10% have seen a reduction in funding and 8% are reporting a reduction in opportunities overall.

The headline findings of the ISM’s second Brexit survey

  • Unique survey of music profession receives 830 responses
  • 19.3% of musicians had already noticed a negative impact on their work as a result of the referendum
  • 70% of professional performers travel overseas for work
  • Some musicians travel to the EU to work more than 40 times a year
  • The average stay is 8 days, with France topping the travel list
  • Results suggest musicians 25% more likely to tour to the EU than the rest of the world

About the campaign

#FreeMoveCreate is a collaborative campaign, representing over 30,000 musicians and artists from across the memberships of a-n The Artists Information Company and the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM).


Twitter: @FreeMoveCreate

The #FreeMoveCreate campaign will:

  • inform allies, including industry organisations, of the importance of free movement to individuals working in the creative industries,
  • lobby Government and Parliament about the importance of freedom of movement without excessive additional expense or bureaucracy for artists,
  • arm creators and individuals working in the creative industries with the facts and figures needed to make the case,
  • assist creators and individuals working in the creative industries in supporting sister campaigns and engaging with decision makers.

About a-n The Artists Information Company

a-n is the largest artists’ membership organisation in the UK with over 21,000 members. We have been leading and influencing policy and sectoral best practice for almost 40 years with our members’ needs, interests and concerns always the central focus of what we do.

We support practitioners and creative freelancers at every stage of their career, and across the full spectrum of the visual arts, through impactful and successful advocacy and lobbying around artists’ livelihoods and sectoral best practice; practical training and artists’ bursaries; specialist benefits and services; and our highly respected news, knowledge and information resources.

About the ISM

The Incorporated Society of Musicians is the UK’s fastest growing professional body for musicians and a nationally recognised subject association for music. We were set up in 1882 to promote the art of music and to protect the interests of all musicians. Today we support nearly 8,000 members with unrivalled services and expert advice, from study up until retirement and beyond.

We have always been a wholly independent, not-for-profit organisation, allowing us to lobby Government as a united voice for music. We welcome musicians from all areas of the profession including thousands of performers, composers, educators, sound engineers, producers, industry professionals, academics, music therapists and administrators from all genres and musical backgrounds.

For more information, please contact [email protected] (Communications Manager, ISM) or Jo Wilson (Head of Communications and Partnerships, a-n) [email protected]