Archives for posts with tag: culture

We should have posted on this much sooner but we’ve been in conference with our heads down and focused on where we’re going with cultureactive but it’s not too late to visit Finn Kennedy’s blog and see whether as a UK culture geek this is something you could get your teeth into. In the arts here in the UK, we feel that the government have become increasingly deaf to our approaches and so Finn is suggesting we meet them on their own terms talking to them in language and ways in which they feel less threatened – hence a *Delphi Study* As an idea it’s got ‘great legs’. Take a look, it’s well worth five minutes of your day!

It’s already at phase two and needs your input – well? what are you waiting for?! get over there…

http://finkennedy.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/in-battalions-phase-two-delphi-study.html

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Maurice is a retired progamme (or ‘program’ in the vernacular) development specialist who blogs really well written, insightful pieces from his home in Newfoundland, Canada. When we talk of culture we usually mean the arts, and forget sometimes that culture is also a word that describes the way we live which is why you will sometimes find us re-blogging some of Maurice’s wonderful posts here on ‘cultureactiveuk’.

 

Here in the UK our chancellor of the exchequer, George Osbourne (now also known as Geoffrey, following a slip of the tongue by US President Barack Obama which has greatly tickled the funny bone of UK society) has announced his 2013 comprehensive spending review (CSR) 11.6 billion pounds worth of yet more funding cuts did little to warm the cockles of the nations heart. The cut of 7% to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, felt like a joyless, gloomy picture painted by a lacklustre artist whose eye was tainted by myopia.  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-23060049

Meanwhile the passionate, the cultured, the creative and the positive all fight on to preserve the treasures of the UK that make our nation great. These treasures are reflected both in and by, our art, our heritage and our creative industries that globally touch the lives of people around the world; whether it be through film, theatre, history, our gaming industry or our music, or even our eccentric propensity to take something absurd or quirky and make something of it. Culture is barrier breaking. Even for people who think their lives are not touched by it, it is there in their psyche. Perhaps because it is so intrinsic in our lives we underestimate its worth to ourselves, individually and as communities. But as culture and the arts come under fire; an easy target for cutting corners and saving money across the world, some interesting discussions have been had. We are not alone, on twitter the likes of @catalanmuseums and @simonbrault (président de Culture Montréal) to name but two,  have joined the debate showing that universally ‘culture matters’.

At the beginning of the year, writer and presenter Melvyn Braggs explored the history of the idea of culture and its value today on Radio 4   http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01pmg02 .  Sameer Rahmin, assistant books Editor at the Telegraph offers his insight here http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/9772655/Melvyn-Bragg-and-the-value-of-culture.html and you might also enjoy an academic response here from Jeremy Gilbert  http://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/jeremy-gilbert/value-of-culture-reluctant-tribute-to-bbc   But perhaps no-one in government listens to Radio 4 or if they do, their ears, minds and hearts are closed to the truth.  It seems that in their dogged determination to save the nation from economic disaster they drag their trail blazing battle wagons over the gardens of the nation that nurture and grow all our cultural talent and heritage, and fail to look back and see the irreparable damage done.

A debate was held this week in the House of Commons http://www.parliament.uk/business/news/2013/june/opposition-debate-on-the-arts-and-creative-industries/  led by Harriet Harman shadow secretary of state for Culture, Media and Sport, and responded to by Culture Secretary, Maria Miller on behalf of the Government.  http://storify.com/Artsmonkey1/the-arts-and-culture-debate-artsdebate.  It followed an early day motion launched by Dame Joan Ruddock on the importance of the arts and creative industries. It demonstrated that there is still much work to be done to enable those in power to articulate the importance of culture in terms of value.

Next week Dan Jarvis MP hosts a debate in Bristol on the future of Britain’s Arts & Culture Policy  https://cultureactiveuk.wordpress.com/2013/06/27/one-nation-labour-arts-event/

If you haven’t read enough articles by following all the links above you could do worse than read these three:

one:  a paper on the Value of Culture (on the relationship between economics and arts)  edited by Arjo Klamer published by Amsterdam Press in 1996  (google *the value of culture, arjo* to discover a free download of the paper)

two:  a paper entitled The economics of Art and Culture produced by the Cambridge University Press and written by James Heilbrun and Charles M. Gray in 2001 http://catdir.loc.gov/catdir/samples/cam031/00059875.pdf

and finally a recent article by Susan Jones for the Guardian’s Professional Culture blog:  Funding Friction and the Future of Art  http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture-professionals-network/culture-professionals-blog/2013/jun/24/pay-artists-funding-friction-future

It would seem that for all the knowledge we possess the wheels of progress are slow to turn.

The future of Britain’s arts and culture policy

Wednesday 3rd July, 1500 – 1800, The Station, Silver Street, Bristol BS1 2AG

I would like to invite you to join Labour’s Shadow Arts team for a discussion about challenges facing the arts and the future of Britain’s arts and culture policy.

The arts are central to our lives, and to the human spirit. They make a huge difference to our lives as individuals, help shape our communities and are a powerful engine of growth in our economy.

But this is a dangerous time for the arts. Arts organisations across the country are facing huge pressures. Many are facing an uncertain future because:
• the Arts Council’s budget has already been reduced by 35%;
• local councils, so important to funding the arts, have had deep cuts made to their budgets;
• Regional Development Agencies, which helped draw investment into our regions, have been abolished;
• the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has been weakened – with another £34m cut over two years announced in the autumn statement; and even though the Government argued for a greater role for philanthropy, over 70% of philanthropic giving goes to London.

There is a real danger that the effect of this will be to turn back the clock on all the progress made by Labour in supporting the arts since 1997.

As well as setting out my concerns for the future of arts and culture, I also want to start the discussion with you in Bristol and the South West.

After an introduction and speeches by Harriet Harman MP (Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport) and me (Shadow Culture Minister), we will be joined by others for discussions on:
• What arts and culture provide for Britain
• Opportunities for young people
• Arts and culture in the regions.

Spaces are limited but we are keen for as many people to attend as possible. Please do feel free to forward this email on to any colleagues you think may be interested. In order to attend, please RSVP to Kamella Hopkins at kamella.hopkins@parliament.uk by Friday 28 June.

You might also be interested in last week’s House of Commons debate on the importance of the arts and creative industries, the first in over five years, led by Labour. You can read the whole debate on the Parliament website.

I look forward to seeing you at the event.

Very best wishes

Dan Jarvis MP
Shadow Culture Minister

Bonnie Greer agrees with Maria Miller “I agree with your fellow Tories” she says, in the Huffington Post,  “Let’s Commodify Culture” … or does she?

See for yourself here:  http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/bonnie-greer/maria-miller-culture-commodification_b_3164017.html

A well crafted piece from Bonnie Greer that succinctly presents the argument for being unafraid to recognise the true value of culture, far better than the arts councils recent report on the economic contribution of arts and culture here: http://www.artscouncil.org.uk/news/arts-council-news/economic-contribution-arts-and-culture-report-publ/

What Next 2013 Delegates gather

What Next 2013
Delegates gather

Afternoon guest speakers and provocateurs at #WhatNext2013

Afternoon guest speakers and provocateurs at #WhatNext2013

Emerging into the sunlight full of further debate and thoght

Emerging into the sunlight full of further debate and thought

WN2013_022

What Next ? began in the shadow of massive cuts to the arts and cultural organisations as the recession became a reality here in the UK. It was a gathering of people, who came together because they felt isolated and threatened by impending doom. They gave themselves an hour but it wasn’t enough and so it continued on – weekly meetings around London that shared the news,  sought to come up with ways to challenge the landslide of negativity and have a positive impact on the current governments divisive statements about all things arts and culture.  No-one took charge, it was a collaborative approach. What Next? is open to anyone who wants to champion the arts and culture, anyone who is involved in it and who wants to become a part of a whole.  It is a movement (although it is still struggling to recognize this) and hasn’t defined its objectives beyond its common purpose but it must be doing something right because it is drawing Arts Champions and senior public figures in to its meetings to debate and discuss how we remind ourselves, and those who have forgotten, and those who don’t understand just why the arts and culture are the lifeblood of the UK and just what the impact of mismanaging the cultural future of our children would be.

What Next 2013 held twenty meetings across London (although it is spreading across the UK as we speak). An open invitation was issued via social media platforms and there was a diverse crowd of people who responded to the call, 650 people came.  A small but broad group of people from a variety of cultural sectors and arts organisations and groups.  We came from all over the UK to come together, to find some common ground for some common actions that would have strength and impact alongside all our individual voices and individual actions.

What Next isn’t about re-hashing the arguments and it’s not about waving a magic wand or having the answers.  It is about cultural activism, forming a cohesive body, about bringing together as many of the disperate parts of the arts and cultural sector as want to be involved and finding some platforms from which to fight our corner.

Those who were at the event and those who managed to overcome the live streaming glitches, heard from a plethora of voices in the afternoon see here http://www.whatnextculture.co.uk   We heard from the young, the old, the experienced, the new and upcoming. Old adversaries and competitors stood in the same room and put their egos to one side in order to focus on this important task. We’re not just saving the Arts here – we’re saving the future of our country.  We have to help those blind to the consequences of their actions to understand that it’s NOT about which is more important – Save the NHS or save our Arts?   It’s about keeping the essence of what makes our country good and not allowing it to be destroyed, it’s about balance and vision and purpose.

My grandfather could draw, but he went down the mine and worked in a steel factory to help his older brother feed the family rather than going to college, two things fed his soul: football and art. Although he never formally recognised the latter, it was in every letter he penned and every drawing he made and he instilled that love in his children, they made costumes, put together plays, learnt to play the piano and they sang, he filled his family life with as much colour as his own childhood had lacked. He fought for that. I fight for it also because I see it slipping away under a tide of short-sighted, weak-willed governance.

see my storify of tweets and comments on the day and on reflection of the day here: http://www.storify.com/Artsmonkey1/what-next-2013

and some action stirring already in response to arts Champion Sam Wests (@exitthelemming) gauntlet that he threw down to those assembled :  http://storify.com/Artsmonkey1/what-next-2013-the-debate-continues-actions-stir

Collection of pictures from the day here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/artsmonkey/sets/72157633372904389/

Resources from the day here:

http://www.whatnextculture.co.uk/resources/

Response here on the Arts Pro blog http://www.artsprofessional.co.uk/blog/juliet-brain/togetherness

Kwong Lee’s response here on the A-N Artists site http://new.a-n.co.uk/news/single/conference-report-what-next-a-movement-in-the-making/1

The Domino effect of 100% arts cuts:
mismanagement, mismanagement, mismanagement…

link to original blog:  http://marcusromer.wordpress.com/2013/02/23/artsfunding-and-understanding-touring-brewhouse/

Marcus Romer's Blog

What happened at the Brewhouse was clearly a terrible blow for the town, the staff and their audiences.

But also for the whole wider arts ecology and infrastructure. There are companies and artists who are owed thousands of pounds – and some who date back to early October last year who have not been paid.

It is highly unlikely that any of these individuals and organisations will see any of their money as they now all count as unsecured creditors.

At Pilot Theatre we know this only too well, as this is the second time this has happened to us.

I want to place our story in context. As you will be aware we have been very active on issues of artsfunding

I set up the artsfunding.ning.com site almost 3 years ago, when I could see the shifts that were looming and happening.

So when Somerset announced its 100% cut…

View original post 478 more words

Let’s go out on a bit of a limb here, it’s a new year and many of us are thinking about how to make the most of it, how to change or make changes, enhance and improve our working lives, our places of work or approaches to work…

So today, we bring you three posts two about museums and one about learning, all linked (see if you can spot the link) all thought provoking and worthy of some reflection

Start here with museum geeks post

My dangerous idea about museums 2013: the greatest threats to museums come from within

then pop over here to @MarDixons post

Random Thoughts for Museums and Visitors

and then settle here for a while, with teacher Maurice Barry’s

Changing Direction

Here’s my dangerous idea: our museums are, our greatest repository’s of our culture and our cultural journeys,  every school should spend at least 25% of their year teaching from within museums and galleries – hands on and direct and in partnership with museum staff – not just an annual day trip but say, a whole week or two! taking over the museum. Oh I can see the museum fraternity shuddering as I type but we have plenty of museums to facilitate this;  just imagine your classroom underneath a dinosaur skeleton, or amongst a room full of historical clothes,  or surrounded by egyptian carvings and paraphenalia – learning, seeing, exploring. If you’re going to dream, dream big.

I was interested to read playwright and tutor, Fin Kennedy’s blog article on a meeting this week with UK Culture Minster Ed Vaizey see here (click on link text below)

http://finkennedy.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/calling-all-theatre-makers.html

Actually Ed Vaizey’s full title is Minister for Culture, Communications and The Creative Industries, broadly his role is to protect the country’s national heritage,  and to promote cultural expression and our UK Cultural Industries I’m not going into the communication part it’s *complicated* but obviously inextricably linked to *culture*.

Fin Kennedy concludes that the culture minister is ignorant of what’s going on in the outside world in terms of the impact of government cuts on Arts Funding and describes the discussion as a ‘gauntlet being thrown” and I imagine a small, peevishly thrown thing –  but no matter how small, here is an opportunity. Fin Kennedy urges theatre makers, theatres, venues and writers to submit evidence of the damaging impact of funding cuts on new play writing and development.  Evidence can be damming indeed but the more powerful part of Fin Kennedy’s ‘call to arms’ is the idea of gathering a body of people, organisations and artists to collate, consider and submit a body of evidence. Fin is offering to do this alone, but he shouldn’t have to – we are always stronger together. It’s the tip of the iceberg in terms of overall impact but very much an arts ‘cornerstone’ ; from film and animation, radio, TV,  games creation to theatre, our creative industries are rooted in ‘new writing’ and the nurturing of this.

Do read his blog if you think you can help Fin to educate and enlighten our culture minister, the gauntlett has been thrown, it shouldn’t be difficult to pick it up and throw it back.

London and Singapore based Artist Nicola Anthony sets out her case for culture (click on link below to see article in Nicola’s Blog)

A Case For Culture – England loses 30% of its arts council budget #CaseForCulture.

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