Arts Funding Information
Ok- maybe it's the Irish rebellion in me but I was just wondering - in these dark days which are likely to get darker it struck me that drastic measures may need to be taken - I've been racking my brains as to what might actually strike a chord - what are all the other sectors threatened with losses doing?
So here's a thought - what would the country do if the arts and I mean the entire sector went dark for a week - no arts at all anywhere in the UK and Ireland for a set time - we down tools, shut our doors (where we have them) and we congregate/march/demonstrate? Imagine the whole of the Southbank devoid of cultural life; no music, no galleries, no theatre, no film, no street arts etc etc And imagine that scene in every village, town and city, far and wide across the land…an arts Armageddon!
What are we afraid of? Losing our own tiny slice of the funding pie? If we don’t act soon there ain’t going to be any pie to slice from.
I think the 'I value the arts campaign' is inspired and inspiring but will it permeate Joe Public (past the usual suspects arts supporters)? I certainly hope so and it undoubtedly deserves to but if it doesn't then perhaps we need a more radical solution – obviously strategically planned with highly honed key messages, sympathetic public positioning and a compelling call to action.
There’s some really brilliant advocacy work going on now not least the upcoming ICA debate and artsfunding’s own campaign - I’m not undermining the validity of any of this but thought I should throw this out there into the mix – a bit of scenario planning – what’s our plan B if plan A doesn’t work?
Any ideas/thoughts/feedback welcome...
not just throwing a spanner - but...villages not having any arts provision is what i spend all my time trying to deal with! i work as director for arts development for the largest district in England, it already has no arts centre, no public gallery, no theatre...withdrawing cultural provision here for a day, a week, whatever, would hardly be noticed - hurts to say that.
there is no one size fits all in our fight for arts provision, yep shutting the southbank is a big statement - but it doesn't affect everyone everywhere eg outside of urban centres.
really think we have to focus our attention on gathering our evidence of our positive impact, telling our stories of what we do that is good and should be supported. we are crap at showing our evidence of impact (yes I know its difficult to count/measure, but we have to find better ways than we currently have. withdrawing our labour is a last straw and quite urban-centric (not saying that it shouldn't be considered - impact actions can be good thing!)...
are we really as embedded, as essential to people, as we think we are? can we do better as a 'sector' to find ways of showing that? we definitely can and need to.
to lob in an anecdote: i gave a presentation to rural councillors and they said: "yes we like arts, but if we are making a decision about cutting arts or not filling in more potholes in the road...our constituents want the potholes filled in, give me the EVIDENCE for supporting the arts". they do not instinctively see what we do, particularly in non-urban areas (ie the majority of the country!)