Arts Council denies it’s prioritising relevance

Contrary to yesterday’s story in The Stage, the ACE today insists that excellence will still play a part in its grant allocations. Two tweets in reply to our previous story:



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  • The usual tongue-tied mixed messaging from the Arse Council. No wonder the creative arts in Britain are up a gum tree, with this pathetic shower of Hooray Henrys in charge. But they will be having another jolly nice lunch at Quaglino’s next week, to decide what the central thrust of their new strategy will be. Triples all round! Pip-Pip!!

    The very same Arse Council that spent £2.1m on refurbishing the Theatre Royal, Exeter – and then announced that the theatre’s funding had been shut off, on the day before it was due to reopen in 2007.

  • Reading the Arts Council’s document “Shaping the next ten years” is profoundly frightening. Their denials are contradicted by the constant references to the need for arts to be socially (i.e. commercially) utile and reflective of “people’s everyday lives”. Socialist realism had nothing on this lot of philistine timeservers – their policies have little to do with genuine creativity, and it’s surely time to get rid of the current Arts Council, root and branch.

  • Pardon a second contribution. Here’s a quote from the ACE report:

    “Arts Council England has generally focused on those activities that come under a traditional definition of ‘the arts’. As the country’s culture continues to widen and deepen … we think we need to widen our focus as well.”

    For “widen our focus” read “dilute”. This lot evidently see ACE as a cadet branch of social services: the organisation needs root and branch reform if it is to have any true “relevance” to what it is supposed to be doing. Opera? Contemporary music? They don’t merit a mention. Forget them.

  • Actually, there has always been a tension at the centre of Arts funding ever since the Arts Council was created after the second world war. Is the aim to fund “world class high arts” or is the aim to provide “high culture” to those who would not otherwise enjoy it?

    People here need to understand that continued political support for Arts funding requires that the benefits are fairly widely spread. The government has always wanted to see what it is getting, in terms of access to the arts, for the money it is spending.

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