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Join us dear readers as once again we plunge into the important stories that affected the arts this week.
Arts Professional magazine brought us the story of the DCMS (Department for Culture Media and Sport) and their unusual connection to the National Funding Scheme (NFS), a fund raising charity specifically for the arts.
"The NFS has been both high-profile and controversial from the start, with one critic accusing it of replicating the functionality of the long-established fundraising platform JustGiving.com, and another arguing for "a better due diligence process from both the government and from funders to ensure that they are not paying to reinvent the wheel." These comments came in the wake of the unusual step by the DCMS to host a launch event to publicise the plans of scheme founder William Makower and his private IT company Panlogic Ltd."
The NFS cost about £600,000 to set up and keep running and the return on that investment has been a slightly disappointing, to say the least, £14,500 for the organisations allowed into the pilot programme.
When Article19 covered the NFS and their "Donate" scheme last year we pointed out that using their service instead of the numerous others available meant less money going straight to any arts organisation that used it because of higher fees.
"The original vision was for the NFS to become self-funding by charging a 4% fee on each donation and by selling donor data. Self-sustainability was a pre-condition of setting up the charity, but while it scales up its operations it will continue to need financial support."
So, unless the NFS can actually sustain itself with the 4% fee it charges on donations then the people propping up this idea with financial support will probably do more good giving their money directly to the arts.
The lesson to learn here is that if a system already exists along with the technology to support it then just use that. Don't spend massive sums re-inventing the wheel because what you will end up with is a wheel.
Basil Brush Mayor
If you are unfortunate enough to live in London then you will be more than familiar with the mayor of that particular city and the fact that he's completely crazy.
Arts Professional, again, reports that Boris Johnson (Bojo) has put the brakes on a massive redevelopment of the eyesore that is the Southbank Centre because, well, because he's crazy.
"Southbank Centre has announced that its £120m development plans are now in limbo following Mayor of London Boris Johnson's recent insistence that the development "should not be at the detriment of the skate park which should be retained in its current position." The Centre had planned to achieve commercial income for the refurbishment of its 1960s buildings, the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and Hayward Gallery"
It's not at all clear why the Mayor of London cares about a skatepark because he doesn't seem to care at all about cyclist being killed on London's roads while using his blue paint cycle network but there you have it.
The Southbank Centre development had offered to build a completely new skatepark (at a cost of £1Million last we heard) just across the road but apparently, if you use a skatepark then location is everything.
For the residents of London keen to see the Southpark Centre turned into somewhere nice that more folks might want to go the way forward is not clear. Getting rid of crazy mayors might be a good start though.
Give It Back
The Stage is reporting (stop laughing at the back) that one Charlotte Jones from the Independent Theatre Council has suggested that the huge amounts of money made from commercially successful and publicly subsidised theatre productions should go back to Arts Council England.
"Speaking at a symposium on the future of small-scale touring at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester last week, Jones said: "I am delighted that the National Theatre made such a success out of War Horse, I am delighted that the Royal Shakespeare Company has made a success out of Matilda [the Musical], but shouldn't some of that come back into the arts council?"
Ms Jones would like the money to go toward supporting small and mid-scale touring companies to "level the playing field" as apposed to paying the massive salaries of people like Nicholas Hytner.
These musings come on the back of a report that revealed, to the surprise of absolutely nobody, that arts funding is not distributed fairly.
The National Theatre didn't comment for the piece in The Stage and even if they did their response would probably be incoherent. Little more than the mutterings of a raging drunkard, probably.
The Week in Tweets
Following the end of British Dance Edition in Edinburgh and (for purely symbolic reasons) Glasgow this past weekend Dance Umbrella tweeted;
We've said it once, we've said it a thousand times. Dance, always talking about the wrong things.
Have a great weekend.
Join us, dear readers, as we journey through the crazy and not at all heartwarming or life affirming stories from another week in the arts.
Just as Arts Council England, the DCMS and anybody with an agenda was talking up last week's story about the culture sector generating billions for the country while simultaneously curing all known illnesses and giving birth to multiple baby unicorns something sinister was afoot in Wolverhampton.
The BBC reported that the local council has decided to cut all funding for anything to do with culture or the arts;
"Wolverhampton council is to cut funding it gives to arts and voluntary groups in the city, to save £1.6m. It is planning to stop subsidies to 13 organisations in April, while 17 groups will continue to receive money for the next financial year only.
Among those affected are the Wildside Activity Centre, Community Transport and the Central Youth Theatre, which has said it may be forced to close."
Wolverhampton Council blamed central government, central government blamed the Labour party, the Labour party blamed the Daily Mail, and so on.
We prodded ACE Chairman Peter Balzagette to say something about it but he didn't, because he was unable to engage his low rent media training and call somebody by their first name despite the fact he's never met them.
MoMA is a Funny Word
On the other side of the Atlantic, the ocean not the magazine, the Wall Street Journal was reporting that the Museum of Modern Art in New York has lost its way.
The reason for this lack of focus, according to writer Eric Gibson, is the fact that MoMA's building is far to big for its boots, metaphorically speaking that is, we don't think the museum has any actual boots although it is MoMA so anything is possible.
"...there is what can only be described as MoMA's rapacious campaign of deaccessioning. In a May 2004 article, cultural journalist and blogger Lee Rosenbaum reported in the Journal that MoMA had sold nine paintings from the permanent collection at that year's spring auctions for a total of $25.65 million."
First of all, kudos for being able to use the words "rapacious" and "deaccessioning" in one sentence, we had to look both of those words up.
Secondly, it appears the museum is selling off the family silver so they can build more gallery space to show less paintings and art work to people. Which makes sense if you're running an art gallery we suppose.
A more simple explanation can be found with the gallery's director Glenn D. Lowry. He's a man, and men like anything that gets bigger and costs a lot of money, why do you think Viarga spam is so effective?
On that note we shall move on...
Gold Plated Tickets
The BBC, again, is reporting that tickets for popular shows in London are being shifted on the black(ish) market for thousands of pounds.
Essentially, rapacious individuals (see what we did there?) are buying tickets for shows at face value from a theatre box office then promptly try to re-sell those tickets for massive sums online.
"The problem affects most of the UK's biggest venues, including theatres that are subsidised by the state. At the time of writing, one website was offering two tickets to see Coriolanus at the Donmar Warehouse for £2,015. The face value was originally £20-£35 each."
To be perfectly honest with you, if you're stupid enough to buy tickets for the theatre at more than £1,000 a throw then you probably deserve all that's coming to you. Such folk are probably the same ones who buy new iPhones from Ebay for double their retail price, just because they can.
Theatre's like the Donmar offer no solutions to the problem both they and their customers face. We, here in TheLab™, helpfully suggested something very sarcastic and very funny but we were rebuffed.
Some folk are just ungrateful...
The Week in Tweets
We mentioned it above and here it is live, from Twitter, uninterrupted coverage of ACE Chairman Peter Balzagette with absolutely nothing to say about arts funding cuts.
Have a nice weekend.
All the news that's fit to type as we bring you another instalment of what the hell happened over there last week in the arts. We know the graphic on the left says a "week in dance" but that's the GFX Dept for you...
The Stage is reporting (stop laughing at the back) another one of those stories telling the world at large just how much money the arts makes for the country. This time the number is £4.6Billion for 2012. This was apparently an increase of 13% from the previous year.
"The data was compiled from the Office for National Statistics information as part of this year's creative industries' economic estimates. Of all the sectors included in the report, the performing arts, music and visual arts showed the second largest percentage increase in value between 2011 and 2012. They were behind the advertising and marketing sector, which experienced a 26% rise."
The news story from The Stage is a blizzard of numbers each more confusing than the last. We, here in TheLab™, have no idea what any of the numbers mean, whether or not they are real or imagined or why they are more than a year out of date.
One question remains however. If the arts and culture are making all of this money why is everybody apart from Antonio Poppano (head stick waggler from the ROH) so poor? Where the hell is all that money going?
Answers on the back of a used lottery ticket to the usual address.
Nod As Good As Wink To Blind Man
From the pages of Arts Professional we have the news that some research is going to be done into the progress of fundraising in the arts ever since the government of the day took a hatchet to the arts budget.
"A new research project is preparing to explore the revenue generation models being adopted by contemporary performance artists and organisations, both in the UK and internationally. Although business models in the performing arts are starting to include philanthropy and higher levels of earned income or commercial revenues, this path is proving challenging for many. "
Unless research is being done by somebody with a Phd, a lab coat and a detailed understanding of what a mass-spectrometer does we tend not to believe a word they say.
In this case we have this;
"The project has been commissioned by Forced Entertainment, Gob Squad and Quarantine, and the survey is being developed by the agency Arts Quarter with support from Arts Council England's Catalyst Arts: Building Fundraising Capacity Programme."
So, the project run by ACE to try and get arts companies to raise funds for the arts is also funding research to find out whether or not that programme is actually working? Okay then, got it [nudge nudge wink wink]. Also, "Gob Squad", that's got to be a made up name.
A Posh Man Speaks
Some dudes by the name of Open Boundaries who are an "... open symposium on the role of culture in 21st century society accessible for established cultural leaders and for those who are discovering their leadership role." have published a video.
This video contains the words of one Benjamin Barber, political theorist (which is apparently a real thing) on how you explain the value of arts to
stupid people politicians.
He basically makes the point that once you get into economic discussions about the value of the arts then you've lost the argument. We've been saying that for years, but it's nice when smart people agree with us.
He also makes a convincing argument that plain doughnuts are the best and you can shove that iced, sprinkled crap where the sun don't shine. (we might be making that up).
This Week In Tweets
Dance companies continue to tweet or retweet things that don't make any sense, almost supporting the very people who are cutting culture budgets to the bone, for some.
Protein Dance decided to retweet the below from Culture Secretary Maria Miller, we made short work of it. Think before you tweet people!
Enjoy your weekend.
So what happened in this, the first week of the new year in the wacky world of the arts, well, not that much.
ACE Grand Bargain
The Stage is reporting (stop laughing at the back) that Arts Council England is going to start using lottery money to
prop up help out the NPO organisations because of cuts to central funding.
"...from 2015/16 to 2017/18, it will employ an estimated £60 million of Lottery money annually to help fund its national portfolio organisations."
Just in-case you are not up to speed, regular ACE funding comes from taxes and all the other money comes from the National Lottery. The money from the Lottery is supposed to be "additional" to the regular core funding, the so called "additionality principle" which until now you thought was a bad Liam Neeson movie! (there are good Liam Neeson movies? Ed!)
"The arts council has said that it believes that the funding arrangement does not breach the additionality principle because the extra Lottery money will allow it to fund additional organisations that it would not have been able to afford to fund solely using grant-in-aid money from 2015/16."
Some would say that using Lottery money for core funding is just asking for that core funding to be cut entirely. We say that Lottery money has been used to fund massively expensive white elephant projects for years (hello Rambert Dance Company's new building) so what else is new?
Also, if you have money and some rules say you can't use it to save organisations and companies that actually matter then there's not a whole lot of point having the money in the first place.
The Stage also insists on continuing to use a photo of Alan Davey (ACE CEO) which makes it look like he has no teeth. There is apparently no image that illustrates Mr Davey's, very obvious, complete lack of a spine. (ouch, Ed!)
This just in from The Civil Society. If you don't know who the Civil Society are then take a number and get in line but it's the first week of the year so we'll take what we can get.
Apparently the folks at the Tate gallery have been up to no good. Not only are they getting slapped around by the Charities Commission for buying work from their own trustees they are also giving priority to exhibit work from those same trustees;
"In 2006 the Tate was condemned by the Charity Commission for showing "serious shortcomings" when it bought artwork from its own trustees. This included work by Chris Ofili, a former boyfriend of [Tomma] Abts. (one of their trustees)"
Critics have complained of a conflict of interest at the charity as paintings by German artist Tomma Abts are being displayed as part of the gallery's 'Painting Now: Five Contemporary Artists' exhibition. Abts is one of 14 trustees appointed by the Prime Minister to oversee the running of the organisation.
So far so apparently evil and up to no good. What's that we hear you say? Corrupt practices, favouritism and blind faith in the arts, say it aint so! The Tate, for their part, claim they are not despicable, mendacious, neer-do-wells with all the ethics and morality of a North Korean supreme leader. Or, you know, whatever....
This Week in Tweets
ACE announced that the process for applying for NPO funding was open, we had a straight forward response.
but your minds @ace_national are still closed, which is what we really need to talk about... is there an application form for that?— Article19 (@Article19) January 7, 2014
The Big bad never did reply, because they never do, see reference above to lack of spine.
Have a nice weekend.
The Federation of Entertainment Unions (FEU) has launched a campaign to counter the problem of bullying in the arts industry across the UK. Entitled 'Creating Without Conflict' the campaign kicks off with a survey via all of the major arts related unions including BECTU and Equity.
Initially the campaign aims to find out just how wide spread the problem is across the industry from dance companies to television stations (looking at you BBC). The FEU suggest that bullying arises, in many cases, because of the lack of job security in the industry as a whole.
"There are always others who can take your place if you complain. Unpaid internships are widespread which puts young people in a vulnerable position. Many workers are self-employed or freelance and are denied the protection that being on staff can afford,"
The campaign information thus far does not make it clear what the unions intend to do about the problem once the survey is complete.
In October of last year we interviewed Anne Marie-Quigg, a freelance arts consultant, who has written a book specifically about bullying in the arts; "Bullying in the Arts: Vocation, Exploitation and Abuse of Power". Ms Quigg explained at the time that getting the larger arts organisations to address the problem of bullying was an uphill struggle.
When dealing with Arts Council England Ms Quigg told us;
"When I got to the Arts Council my first email was directly to Alan Davey (ACE CEO) to ask him if he was able to make a statement and I got no reply. A month later I sent another email to Alan Davey and this time I got a reply from someone in his organisation who said that he was unable to reply to me at this time.
That person trotted out a few of the things about the Arts Council's policies, which I already knew, which was that they themselves have an internal policy, a dignity at work policy, but that it is not their business to interfere in the internal management practices of the organisations that they fund."
Discovering the extent of the problem would appear to be the logical first step but without widespread reforms and protections for those that come forward the research itself may be of little practical use.
You can find out more about the project on the BECTU website.
The BBC is reporting that Arts Council England will receive a 5% cut to its funding for the year 2015/2016 after the Department for Culture Media and Sport agreed to an 8% cut in their funding as part of the next government spending review.
ACE had drawn up scenarios for progressively worse cuts predicting that hundreds of National Portfolio Organisations would have to be de-funded.
Various talking heads are calling the 5% drop a win for the arts following the 30% cut in the last spending review in 2010. Given ACE's tiny budget, relatively speaking, then the 5% reduction in funding will do little or nothing to support the coalition government's claims of making "tough" decisions to reduce the deficit and save the world, or something.
Starting from today Article19 will be introducing "closed captioning" to our video interviews to make them more accessible to folks with hearing issues.
Closed captioning is a method of placing subtitles and other information into a video that can be made visible on request by the user. The captions have been available on TV shows and DVD movies for years but, until now, making them available on web videos has been a bit of a nightmare to implement.
Article19 uses an HTML5, cloud based video player called Sublime from Jillion that allows us to deliver video material to our readers no matter what browser, operating system or mobile device they are using.
The player doesn't require any plugins or other software and is constantly updated by Jillion while users don't have to lift a finger to take advantage of those updates.
Last week Jillion announced an upgrade to the player that includes support for closed captioning (CC).
Sadly, the captions don't just magically appear on the videos. We have to create the transcriptions, format them correctly and put them online to make the CC option work. This is going to take some time to do because we have rather a lot of video material.
Thus far we have created transcriptions on the four most recent features. You will know when a feature has been upgraded to include captions because you will see a little "CC" logo in the corner. The captions themselves can be turned on using the "CC" option button on the player itself for all enabled videos.
If you would like to help us create the captions for our video material then doing so couldn't be easier.
We use an online service called Amara.org, sort of the "wikipedia" for captions and subtitles. The website basically enables anybody to crowdsource captions for online video material. Actually captioning a video is very easy and, depending on how fast you can type, doesn't take a great deal of time.
If you would like to help us out then drop us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get you started. You can do as little or as much as you like.
We can also incorporate multiple language subtitles so if want to create subtitles for languages other than English then that would be great.
For now check out the captioning feature on our latest features.
Welcome dear readers to the roundup of culture news culled from the assorted media covering the business that we call show.
No idea who took this image because Wired couldn't be bothered to caption it.
We start with news from Wired magazine of a gentleman in Holland, Thor ter Kulve, a designer, who has taken to vandalism that most folks would consider nice!
Instead of spraying buildings with random "tags" or unreadable writing Mr ter Kulve installs unauthorised improvements to various bits of street furniture in his home country of Holland.
These adornments include swing sets on lamps posts, water spray systems on fire hydrants and large transparent balloons on top of street lights.
"In the Netherlands it is forbidden to attach anything to public trees, not even a birdhouse, let alone a swing," he says. "But this is also an issue I like to address -- why do we use this common field in this way? And aren't the rules preventing joyfulness to happen?"
None of the art works are permanent. He leaves them in place for a few hours and removes them, almost like he was never there to begin with.
If, like us, you think "Banksy" is a bit of git who should be thrown onto the counterclockwise ring of the M25 along with his spray cans then we encourage you to support the far better and much more interesting work of Thor ter Kulve.
If you think the problems we have with arts funding in this country are bad spare a thought for the citizens of California in the United States.
The LA Times reports that the local government types suspended a vote on increasing the states dreadful arts budget until some point later in the year.
"The arts council's budget, now $5.5 million, peaked at $32 million in mid-2000. It was cut nearly in half over the next two years, then all but eliminated in 2003 as the economy fell into a recession. Since then the arts council has received $1 million a year from state tax coffers."
To give you a little perspective. California has a population just over half that of the UK (38 million) and government contribution to the arts per-annum is just £3.5Million. That's about 10 times less than Arts Council England's budget for..... England.
Previous budget cuts have also been attributed to politicians within the State Assembly not liking whomever happens to be in charge of the Arts Council. At one point the Council had a budget of $75Million.
We also note that California is the home of Hollywood and the largest commercial film economy in the world. A group of people that just spent about $130Million making 'After Earth', a large-scale vanity project for "actor" Will Smith and his son Jaden that has been universally mauled by critics and ignored by the public.
There's an argument right there for massive public spending on culture because in many ways, the commercial sector is dropping the ball so hard it could punch a hole in the earth all the way to China.
Pretty sure that script is in development for Mr Smith and his rather annoying offspring for their next movie.
More DCMS doom and gloom news as The Telegraph reports that UK Culture Secretary Maria Miller may be for the chop along with her entire department.
Apparently the Chancellor, George "Can't Count" Osborne is displeased with Ms Miller's inability to do anything at all, ever!
"Mrs Miller is regarded as one of the Cabinet's weakest performers and her department's failure to swiftly roll out a high-speed broadband network has angered the Chancellor.
She is also under investigation for abusing her expenses and has recently refused to brief the Telegraph on forthcoming Government policies in apparent revenge for this newspaper exposing her claims."
To be fair to Ms Miller, her predecessor Jeremy "Not James" Hunt, was in the job a lot longer and he couldn't roll out this mythical high-speed broadband network either.
We imagine the reasons for this are that neither of them are telecommunications engineers and they have limited access to massive amounts of fiber-optic cable and a screwdriver. Also, the UK's government doesn't own a large scale communications company because the last time they were in power they sold it. Looking at you BT.
The DCMS has denied that it is under threat of any kind. The dance world at large reacted to this news by being completely unaware that the news even existed at all.
This Week In Tweets
The Stage reported, for want of a better word, that an organisation called Crystal Ballet will be releasing some filmed ballet/dance work on iTunes at the beginning of next month.
The company was quoted thus;
Given our strong views on how dance needs to be filmed to make it usable on the small screen then the folks at Crystal Ballet might have thought again about their response.
Have a nice weekend.
Welcome dear readers to our weekly roundup of stories from the wide world of culture some all or none of which might have something to do with dance. So spin the wheel and take your chances.
What with all the doom and gloom these days about cuts, criminals and terrorism it's time for a little hope, a little bit of inspiration.
The BBC World Service programme "Outlook" featured the story of one Adrianne Haslet-Davis a ballroom dancer from Boston in the United States. Ms Haslet-Davis lost part of her leg in the bombing attacks at the Boston Marathon a just a few weeks ago. She took time out from recovery/life to join the BBC show to tell her story.
Despite her injuries Ms Haslet-Davis is keen to return to dancing and explains how she will be making an appearance on the US network television show "Dancing with the Stars" later in the year.
Also joining her on the programme, from Brighton in the UK, was one Welly O'Brien. Ms O'Brien also lost one of her legs in an accident while travelling in India 20 years ago but went on to become a professional dancer touring with Candoco Dance Company for several years.
Unlike most BBC output the interviews with the two dancers are fairly extensive and in-depth. The interview begins right at the start of the show.
Less Guns More Painting.
Previous story not inspiring enough for you? Then let's move to the United States and NBC news who reported this week on a school in Roxbury Massachusetts that turned failure into success using the arts.
Gun control and school security was thrown into sharp focus in the United States following the school shooting at Sandyhook elementary school in Newton, Connecticut late last year.
The National Rifle Association (also know as Bat Sh*t Crazy Incorporated) put forward a plan for armed guards, bullet proof glass and guns for teachers as a way to stop the madness. Banning the actual guns, as far as the NRA (BSCI) was concerned was out of the question.
School principal Andrew Bott had other ideas though when he took over the job at Orchard Gardens Elementary School. Following huge problems over many years the school and its students had been consistently failing and falling behind on test scores.
Mr Bott decided to fire all the security guards and dismantle the security infrastructure and instead spend all that money on arts programmes for the students, with dramatic positive effects.
"A lot of my colleagues really questioned the decision," he said. "A lot of people actually would say to me, 'You realize that Orchard Gardens is a career killer? You know, you don't want to go to Orchard Gardens.'"
But now, three years later, the school is almost unrecognizable. Brightly colored paintings, essays of achievement, and motivational posters line the halls. The dance studio has been resurrected, along with the band room, and an artists' studio.
Remember this story the next time your in a discussion with a politician about the billions spent on "security" vs the pittance spent on the arts.
Speaking of Bat Sh*t Crazy
The Guardian reports that a somewhat controversial version of the Wagner Opera 'Tannhäuser' at the Rheinoper in Düsseldorf has been cancelled because the "Nazi themed" opera managed to offend and disgust almost everybody who saw it. Some people actually needed medical treatment after watching the show.
"The production, which opened last Saturday and was expected to be one of the highlights of the celebrations for the bicentenary of Wagner's birth later this month, has a Nazi storyline, and includes scenes of people dying in gas chambers, being shot and raped, and of members of a family having their heads shaved before their execution."
Wagner was much admired by Adolf Hitler although that wasn't really Mr Wagner's fault since he died in 1883 (Hitler was born in 1889) although he was thought be more than a little antisemitic. Given the history of the composer it's not too difficult to understand why many people would get upset and more than a little bit outraged over the content.
The opera's director Burkhard C Kosminski refused to change any of the content for "artistic reasons" or because he's a massive, attention seeking muppet. Take your pick.
The Week in Tweets
In every generation there is a chosen one RT @sanj0yr0y: launch date for my website Mon 20 May 2013. 10th anniversary of last Buffy episode— Tim Wood (@timcwood) May 6, 2013
Here in TheLab™ we are not sure what's more distressing. The fact that a critic is launching a website or the fact that Tim Wood, press flack from ThePlace, chose to join in on the painful Buffy The Vampire Slayer themed promo.
Let's get one thing straight. Buffy The Vampire Saved World (a lot apparently! Ed!), these two on the other make the world wish she had failed. Now that's comedy!
Have a nice weekend.
Welcome dear readers to our weekly round up of news from the wide world of culture. Hard news is hard to find, seriously, take a look at the arts on Twitter if you don't believe us, but here's what we have.
The Female Choreographer's Collective got things underway with an "experiment" in London late last month at the Laban Theatre. They showed six pieces of work and refused to tell the audience who choreographed what to see if people could tell the difference between work created by men and work created by women.
Some folks reacted with outright, and somewhat ham fisted, hostility toward the whole thing and the most amazing thing about that? ..... It wasn't us!
At the time of writing the results are not yet in but if you want to join the
fight discussion then you can do just that via the FCC's website. Sign up for an account and get involved in the debate about why there is so much rampant sexism in the wacky world of dance. They may frame the discussion with more subtlety mind you.
If you want to know more about the FCC then look no further than our interview with the founders Holly Noble and Jane Coulson.
Delores Takes Umbridge
The current Secretary of State for Culture, Maria Miller, who bares more than a passing resemblance to Delores Umbridge from the Harry Potter movies, was taken out to the woodshed this week by Scotsman writer Tiffany Jenkins.
Ms Miller gave a speech somewhere or other and started singing the coalition government's tune about "difficult times", "austerity", "clown cars", "broken spreadsheets" and "inbred stupidity". We might be making some of that up.
Clown cars aside, Ms Miller was trying to make the point that the arts needs to make "economic" sense not "artistic" sense because, in the world at large, unless you can sell something for money then it's not actually worth anything at all apparently.
"Miller forcefully argued that the arts sector must make the case for public funding in the age of austerity by focusing on the economic - not artistic - value of culture. She told arts executives that they need to "hammer home the value of culture to our economy". And in case anyone missed the point, she underlined: "Culture does not simply have a role to play in bringing about a return to growth ... rather, it should be central to these efforts."
This is the first policy speech the Minister has given since she took over the job from Jeremy Hunt months ago. Ms Jenkins retorted;
"If we were to nurture only that which contributed to the economy it is likely that the safe, the tried and the tested would be funded. It is likely that the new, the risky and experimental would be avoided because the question would not be is it interesting, or good, but what is the expected return?"
As if to prove the point the BBC announced a 42 season pickup for Doctor Who, possibly the worst thing in the world ever and not just on television!
This Week in Tweets
note to the wacky world of dance: it's not our job to say "you're awesome" and then bat our eyelids and giggle......— Article19 (@Article19) May 2, 2013
We sent out that message in response to a conversation we had with the press office at Rambert Dance Company concerning their catastrophically bad videos on The Space. You can read more about that here.
Questions we had asked them went unanswered. Such is their professionalism, they chose the "la la la la we are not listening to you" approach.
They also took offence at out persistent attempts to get them to explain why an arts organisation wasn't open to a free exchange of ideas about their work and their use of public money to create that work.
If every journalist just gave up when somebody said "we have nothing to say" the papers would be empty, TV news would be empty, everything would be empty.
So deal with it!
Have a nice weekend.