How do we stop our artists getting deported

Harry Giles, 29 July 2012

Flavia D'Avilia, Harry Giles, Debbie Hannan, Kieran Hurley, Jen McGregor, Jesse Phillippi, and others

Flavia, and why the session was called

Flavia is a theatre director from Brazil, who trained in the UK, and she's now facing having to leave because there's no visa category that supports young artists. Her post-study work visa is ending in September, and to get a work visa now she needs to have at least a £20k job and for her employer to sponsor her visa. This is obviously pretty useless for the majority of artists.

There's now a new category called Exceptional Talent, to try and fill the gap. But there are lots of problems with it. You can only apply from outside the UK, which costs money. You have to pay over £800 to apply. You have to get endorsements from ACE, rather than Creative Scotland. And what exceptional talent is is really unclear: their guidelines mention things like winning a BAFTA. The only person to have come on the visa so far is Chris Fujiwara, the EIFF director – either because it's so restrictive, or because it's so intimidating to apply.

We called the session because we wanted to help, and show solidarity, and also because the whole situation is so horrible and damaging to the arts. It restricts the artists we'll have working here, stops people from overseas wanting to come here to

train, reduces the diversity and inventiveness of the art we make, and much else besides. We want to do something to change this.

Actions we're taking or thinking about

We came up with ideas for actions that could help.

A simple solidarity action is to get as many people as possible to Flavia's show, which will help her application. Everyone there agreed to help promote it.

We want bloggers and reviewers to review her show, to help her application. We'd like people to include the words “exceptional talent”, to highlight the absurdity of the rules and the category. We're going to co-ordinate contacting all the reviewers we know.

We're going to write an open letter and circulate it as far and wide as possible, getting signatures, and hopefully getting it into the press.

We'd like to get video vox pops of respected artists currently working in Britain who wouldn't have been able to under the current rules – but don't currently have someone to co-ordinate this.

We need more folk to get involved.

We got really angry about how stupid and unfair it all was.

How to get involved

A website is being made at, where actions will be co-ordinated and collated.

Some organising will happen by email: contact [email protected] to join in. We need you.


deportation, no borders, flavia d'avilia, exceptional talent, immigration, visa, visa laws, artists, Theatre, theatre