Solicitor Cho's Blog

Solicitor-Advocate by day, Entrepreneur (co-Founder of Lawxero) by night and weekends. This blog contains 'everyday' law for all - Hurrah!

Tier 1 Artist Visa - Is my art covered?

A burning question from all applicants - Is my art covered by this visa?

The more creative and esoteric or pioneering a discipline you pursue, the more pertinent this questions will be for you. For example, considering my cultural proximity to Korea and K-Pop, I receive these questions often. I've finally received a response - of a kind - from Arts Council England this month.

As suspected, the areas of art assessed by the Council appears to be rather 'traditional' e.g. for Dance = Ballet, Music = traditional instrumentalist, but do read on and draw your own impression/ conclusion.

I've shared both my questions and their response below as they were received.

1.      Specifically please could you confirm whether the following Visual Arts disciplines are assessed by ACE for endorsement:

a.     ceramics, 

b.    drawing, 

c.     painting, 

d.    sculpture, 

e.     printmaking, 

f.      Book Arts,

g.     Textile design, 

h.       crafts, 

i.       photography, 

j.       architecture,

k.     industrial design, 

l.       graphic design, 

m.     fashion design, 

n.    interior design,

o.     decorative art,

For Visual Arts we assess a wide variety of disciplines. From the list of disciplines provided most of these (apart from industrial design, *most areas of fashion design, **some areas of graphic design, architecture and interior design) are assessed by Arts Council England.

Ceramics, Textile design and Crafts (*including some areas that could be classified as fashion design) would need to be items specifically made for exhibition and not for commercial purposes. For example – ‘The making of notionally functional or decorative crafted objects. A crafted object is one which has been made by hand, not manufactured (although it may include limited production runs using automated or semi-automated processes eg printing on textiles). It has often been made by the hand of the product's designer, and shows their skill and creativity. Crafts include traditional/heritage crafts which use skills and techniques that have been passed down from generation to generation and contemporary crafts using characterised by innovative techniques and use of materials.’

**Some areas of graphic design, architecture and interior design can be considered however, this cannot be commercial, must be specifically related to the arts and cannot include production or construction of items/buildings.

As there is not an exhaustive list of every discipline that we assess, we advise applicants in our published eligibility guidance that applicants should contact us if they require advice on what disciplines we do or do not assess.

  4. Specifically please could you confirm whether the following Music disciplines are assessed by ACE for endorsement under Tier 1 Exceptional Talent/ Promise:

a.        K-Pop (Korean Pop) music performers (singers, group members)

b.        K-pop concert designers, concert/ music video producers and directors, musicians,

c.         Contemporary music band members (heavy metal, rock, indie genre), alternatively, a list of musical genres covered by ACE

For Music we assess a wide variety of disciplines. From the list provided we could consider all of the disciplines listed. In general for music we support:

Classical, Baroque, Early Music, Chamber, Orchestral, Choral, Choirs, Vocal Ensembles, Gospel, Brass bands, Opera, Popular (pop, rock, soul, country, funk, hip-hop, r&b, urban, blues, singer-songwriters, electronic music), Jazz, Experimental, Swing, Big Band, Folk (traditional music and song indigenous to the British Isles), World Music (music primarily associated with a specific nation outside of the British Isles)

Members of bands or groups will need to apply separately and provide evidence that proves their individual promise/talent – in accordance with the eligibility criteria.

As there is not an exhaustive list of every discipline that we assess, we advise applicants in our published eligibility guidance that applicants should contact us if they require advice on what disciplines we do or do not assess.

5.     Finally, The composition of the decision-making panel at ACE.

Arts Council England are not the decision makers for Tier 1 Visas. The application and decision-making process is undertaken by the Home Office. Arts Council England's role is to provide an assessment of an application against the published criteria for Exceptional Talent/Promise – which is carried out by one of our pool of artform specialists from our teams across the country – which is then moderated and signed off by a Senior Manager who checks that guidance has been followed appropriately before returning the recommendation to the Home Office.

As usual, my thoughts on any potential applicants for endorsement is that an endorsement application is infinitely worth a try (rather than not). A refusal from this application does not prejudice any future visa application and unlike a visa application, it does not require you to surrender your passport for assessment. Ultimately the more esoteric your discipline, the stronger the case for making an application for Art Council to assess. Therefore, the only way to 'find out' your chances of success is to prepare and submit an application straight away. 

If you would like to start an assessment of your application, please contact me here.