How could the arts be financially supported in more efficient ways that benefit artists?
Part of the System Failure talks series, Nov-Dec 2015
With John Kieffer and Gilane Tawadros.
The concept of public funding for the arts in the UK is fifty years old this year, with the first and, so far, only white paper A Policy for the Arts – First Steps published by arts minister Jennie Lee in 1965. With much subsequent modification, the four home nation funder – Arts Council England, Creative Scotland, Arts Council of Wales and Arts Council of Northern Ireland – are the main legacy of this vision, along with local councils still the principal funders of arts activity in the country.
Considering this public funding system, what parts of it still work, and what parts leave room for improvement? If the whole system was to be reinvented tomorrow, what would we keep, where would the money come from – and who would be making the decisions?
Most importantly, what part could artists play in such a revisioned system – a system putting the producers of artistic activity at its heart?
This open and solutions-focussed conversation will perhaps touch on topics such as:
- The place of institutional funding: given that organisations need infrastructure and inevitably incur administrative duplication, why are the arts publicly funded via organisations and not artists?
- How artists deal with a public, media oriented view of them as being undeserving of funds to support and develop the cultural life of the country.
- Current encouragement from Government, via public funders, to chase dwindling alternative sources of money from trusts and foundations, private philanthropy and corporate sponsorship with little acknowledgement of the long-term cultural shift this will take.
- How the shift from predominantly publicly funded arts to corporate and philanthropic income may weaken less diverse and socially responsive aspects of the art world toward marketisation and income generation.
- What we risk when justifying arts funding on primarily financial, industrial, investment-oriented grounds.
- The ethics of museums and galleries taking private money that has been seen as ‘greenwashing’ by polluting companies, notable the recent BP protests at Tate Modern.
- New models of cultural investment such as the Arts Impact Fund and The Radical Renewable Art + Activism Fund (RRAAF).
Through discussion and debate, the audience will be invited to actively take part in this event, with time at the end for informal conversation and involvement on social networks.
All talks will be audio recorded and published online.
Further information about this and the other 5 talks is available on the ARTIEST site: www.artquest.org.uk
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London SW9 7AA