Arts Funding Information
Follow the link below to read for yourself the make-up of the new Culture Forum (don't confuse with the 'New Culture Forum' a centre-right culture lobbying group), which has been set up to give “the sector an opportunity to engage in the Government’s call for a national debate on the cultural economy” [source: Arts & Business website].
I am troubled by the fact that it appears that none of the Culture Forum members are arts practitioners - all appear to be arts professionals. This is despite the fact that 6 members were later co-opted by Arts & Business "to ensure the Culture Forum had representation from all regions and all major art forms". Careful thought obviously went into the make-up of this group and yet still there are glaring omissions - no practitioners.
The voice of the artist appears not to be represented here.
Is this the fruit of a fundamental assumption that artists can't speak for themselves?
It appears that the same old hegemonies are at work - that the hierarchies of the arts worlds, again, leave the actual artists, makers and practitioners, out of the biggest debates that directly affect us. I am a member of AIR (www.a-n.co.uk/air), along with over 14,000 other professional visual artists. I'd like to suggest that #cultureforum considers a representative from AIR, who will be able to feedback and bring comments from the wider membership.
I struggle to see how the Culture Forum can claim with integrity, to be able to "feedback on the impact and effects of proposed cuts to the arts sector", without a membership involving actual arts practitioners, alongside arts professionals. At present there is no-one who could directly comment on the experience of the artist in the current climate. In the light of statistics like 72% of artists are self-employed, and have been given no specific support in the recession as 'sole traders' or 'small businesses' [source: AIR], surely artists' voices have to be given space in the debate, and at least one place at the table.