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What is this ARH?

Are you …

???? A veteran freelancer of the arts industry?

???? A part-time gig worker?

???? An arts student about to face the vast and challenging world of #adulting, and not sure where to start?

???? A wage slave thinking of saying sayonara to your full-time job to pursue your passion for the arts?

(That’s right, freelancers come in all shapes and forms)

If you’re any of the above, high-five – I’ve also just joined this exciting world of arts industry self-employment myself. And if you’ve ever wondered if there was some sort of arts freelancer starter pack, then you’ll want to know about the Arts Resource Hub (ARH, for less of a mouthful). An initiative by the National Arts Council (NAC), it comprises a website and two physical co-working spaces that are expressly designed with the arts freelancer (us!) in mind. 

The website aims to be a first-stop portal that addresses concerns that arts freelancers might have about a wide range of topics. From financial and insurance planning, professional development opportunities to legal support, the ARH presents a range of beneficial information, making it a great first port of call for anyone navigating the uncharted waters of freelance life. 

While you may already be familiar with some of the resources that ARH points to, it also contains numerous lesser known, but no less valuable gems. One of our particular favourites is Advocates for the Arts: A Legal Handbook for the Creative Industries. Created by the Law Society Pro Bono Services, this handbook presents information about an arts freelancer’s legal rights in a clear and accessible way.

ARH also hosts a job portal that job-seekers and employers in the arts industry can use to find each other. It uses a nifty skill-matching feature that I’ve personally found useful in helping me think about the transferable skills that I have gained in my previous job in a different industry. 

Professor Axolotl teaches: Navigating contracts and IP rights as a freelancer.

ARH is also where you can access an ongoing series of free talks until March 2020, such as workshops on financial habits and behaviours, and legal support. These events have been tailored to the needs and concerns of the arts freelance community, based on the feedback of close to 400 individuals across various arts disciplines and practices that NAC surveyed.  

Freelance artist-researcher Ng Hui Hsien, who attended the workshop Financial Planning for the Self Employed, shares, “I found this workshop particularly useful, as it helped me to think about what I’d need for a sustainable career as a freelancer. I now have a better idea of how much I should save every month, what CPF is and how it works, as well as how to plan for retirement as a freelancer.” 

Connect with other freelancers by working at the ARH co-working spaces rather than at home. Who knows – they may be the ones who introduce you to your next lobang!

ARH is not merely a digital space. It also takes on physical forms that exist in two locations that many arts professionals frequent: Goodman Arts Centre and Stamford Arts Centre in Bras Basah. Each space is outfitted with facilities such as hot-desking, meeting rooms, Wi-Fi, printers and a pantry with coffee-and tea-making facilities, making them convenient work spaces for arts freelancers to gather, work and meet like-minded industry folks. 

Sam leaves feedback to help the new ARH become better. Be like Sam.

As ARH is still in its infancy stage, the good people running it continue to gather feedback from its users. So if you have any suggestions on what you’d like to see, you know what to do! 

Whether you’re a fresh-faced freelancer or a veteran, the Arts Resource Hub looks to be an exciting platform that can only grow and become more extensive in time to come. So do check back from time to time, to see how the spaces – both digital and physical – evolve. 

The Arts Resource Hub: A trove of information for the arts freelancer.
For more information on the Arts Resource Hub, click here

For more information on the National Arts Council, click here. To stay updated on social media click here (Facebook) or here (Instagram). 

All images illustrated by Nadra Ahmad

This article is produced in paid partnership with the National Arts Council. Thank you for supporting the institutions that support Plural.
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