The nsead is unusual among subject associations in that it is also a trade union and can offer legal protection that unions traditionally offer, as well as the advantages of a subject association. This is useful if considering part-time employment to supplement working on your own art projects - you may do stints in primary schools, as a resident artist, in further and higher education or with community arts, as you eke out a living from your bedsit. A union-subject combination that covers all these is worth considering.
The society started in 1888 and concentrated on raising the standard of art teaching and the status of art teachers. It aims to promote and, where necessary, defend the interests of art, craft and design education, important at a time when the curriculum is squeezed by demands for more vocational education.
Its publications are excellent value. Start, the pre-school and primary magazine, contains invaluable ideas and resources for nursery or primary school teachers, especially those who are perhaps less confident with art. Also available is JADE, the international Journal of Art Design Education.
As with all associations, there are conferences and training. This year's annual conference, Intercultural and Interfaith Issues in Art Design Education (June17) is topical, useful to art teachers and not a response to some DfES initiative. It's held at the Tate Modern, London, and worth the fee. Later, you might fancy a power drawing weekend at Bath Spa university college.
Full membership, which includes trade union membership, is pound;144. Ordinary membership, just as a subject association, is pound;78.
more informationNSEAD, The Gatehouse, Corsham Court, Corsham, Wiltshire SN13 0BZ. Tel: 01249 714825; fax: 01249 716138; www.nsead.org