Below please find an article by Manick Govinda regarding the new British Home Office rules that are greatly restricting the opportunities for artists from outside the EU to visit Britain for any cultural purposes. As an artist who has participated in many cultural exchanges, and recently curated a show of Canadian artist in London, I am seeing these rule from the inside and they are unfair on both the visiting artist and the wider British public.
The petition against the home office’s ludicrous restrictions preventing non-EU artists and academics from participating the UKs cultural life is getting closer to our target of 10,000 signatories. When we reach our target we will send a delegation to 10 Downing Street with the petition. We’re nearly there, but I’m writing to you for your help.
The points based system which replaced the far more flexible work permits will be a year old on 27 November. We want to hand the petition in by that date to mark that moment when our freedom to invite artists, writers, poets, dancers, musicians, academics and intellectuals – professionals and amateurs – were taken away from us.
Very recent examples of barred entry included:
US artist Cristina Winsor detained and deported for allegedly intending to sell 2 small paintings at a local arts event in east London;
US artist MP Landis, his wife and 4 month baby detained and deported for not having the correct paperwork; Glenfiddich Distilleries invited him for a summer residency;
Indian artist Anirban Mitra refused a visa for the same residency opportunity after waiting for 4 months for a decision at great expense;
The home office and the UKBA need to get a sense of proportion. Hundreds of community, amateur and cultural groups are being affected as well as big national arts institutions.
We need to send a loud message to the Home Office that these ludicrous regulations need to be seriously reviewed and reconsidered. This petition has collected a huge breadth of voices from all walks of life, nationalities, political and religious persuasions.
If you haven’t signed it, PLEASE do so. If each of you can persuade a friend, colleague or family member to sign the petition then we’ve more than reached our target.
The petition link is: http://www.PetitionOnline.com/MCvisit/petition.html
Manick Govinda, Visiting Artists Campaign Co-ordinator, Manifesto Club