I'm numb and getting number..
I can say without doubt that a reason for this happening will have been lack of advocacy within the arts funding structure for this/these specific area/s of practice.Without sustained advocacy carried out internally and also externally at multiple levels including in policy arena, press area and public domain any artform area/s will be disadvantaged. It is a lobbying war/jungle when it comes to arguing for reasons why certain things should be funded rather than others and unfortunately there has been a focus within ACE recently (as rightly identified in earlier emails) on 'digital marketing', on getting larger companies and venues to buy into 'digital' as ways of increasing audiences and on partnerships with mainstream broadcasters which carry low risk and are arguably not best use of arts subsidy.
One thing that could be done is you could all ask to see the assessment reviews made last autumn and other reports by offices responsible for media arts clients - using the Data Protection Act and also ask to see internal reports recommending why they were cut.
It is also an issue of scale - there was reference in the Observer last weekend to David Cameron's enthusiasm for Schumacher and his small is beautiful agenda....I felt in reading this that there was a high likelihood that in a few days time the small and dynamic organisations who led the development of media related practices in the past fifteen years would be on the cuts list. At the same time, this week ACE was savaged by a select committee in Parliament which criticised it heavily for various things including spending too much on itself, The Public being misjudged etc. It would be a wise time to build some kind of narrative that counterpoints and critiques what is happening there now (notwithstanding that it has retained some organisations in the portfolio that they can argue perhaps more easily into audience development scenarios with festivals and buildings clearly just about OK - at least on this occasion). It has taken Watershed decades of arguing, lobbying, demonstration, negotiation, rejection, counterrejection, sustained delivery, to make any kind of mark on relative levels of funding return.
I go back to first point - lack of advocacy is at the heart of this....if there is something that people think can be done to now address this please count me in.
Mar 31, 2011 09:43:20 AM, [log in to unmask] wrote:
Like Marc, I have been reeling from the news of yesterday and conferring with
colleagues about what has happened, and what we should do.
Drew Hemment (director, FutureEverything), and I touched base yesterday, and
Marc and I touched base this morning, and we feel we need to reach out to all
the organisations hit so hard.
It seems clear that nationally, the media arts / digital arts landscape has been
completely ravaged with funding cuts to a wide range of significant
organisations who have helped shape and define the field over many the years.
onedotzero, folly, Proboscis, Lumen, Mute, Isis, Lovebytes, SCAN,
Labculture/PVA, AccessSpace, Vivid, Picture This, and several others have lost
funding, as far as we know. Several other organisations who have been very
influential in the digital art space, including our friends, ArtSway in the New
Forest, Quay Arts on the Isle of Wight, and Moti Roti in London, have also been
cut. In addition, many other organisations who have been doing valuable work -
including Animate Projects - were not funded.
It seems to us that that half the digital visual arts organisations active in
the UK have been cut.
This is a massive shock and loss to us all.
It is clear there will be more need than ever to form partnerships, and work
collaboratively, and there will be huge pressure on those organisations who
have emerged in one piece.
We am not sure yet how precisely we deal with this, or whether we need to
formalise our solidarity, but I think it is so important for us to collectively
recognise that media and digital has been a serious loser in the past two days.
We believe now is a time to stand up to be counted, and to extend the
collaborative ethos and goodwill that already characterises our sector.
Do people feel we could usefully swap notes on tangible ways we can better work
Quoting marc garrett :
> Hi Sarah & all,
> I have been discussing the subject myself on other lists such as
> netbehavour & to others privately through email...
> I am extremely angry.
> Yesterday was a significant day. A big shift politically, where the
> ideology of an neo-liberalist agenda successfully disarmed half of the
> media art orgnizations in the UK. Some excellent groups who were grass
> roots, doing amazing stuff were attacked. I can't even bring myself to
> mention their names at present, because it feels too raw. Already in the
> UK, artist groups have been just about surviving on minimal amounts of
> income. Yet due to generous dedication, enthusiasm and imaginative
> approaches we have all witnessed an expansive and valuable contribution
> to society, as well as towards the arts across the board. Our endeavors
> collectively and separately have influenced many of the younger
> generation to take on and consider the practice of media art in their
> own practice. But also, (of course) it has been watered down by the less
> critically engaged sectors of art culture also. This more reflects the
> vulnerability of media arts (related) practice, in respect of its
> presence and status in the art world and every day culture.
> There has been, and still are excellent digital and media art
> organizations and groups receiving revenue in the UK from Arts Council
> funding, actively changing things via their own, critical approaches.
> Media art organizations across the board deserve more attention and
> appreciation regarding its high output and intelligent production. By
> closing over half of them down, cutting off the supply of revenue when
> these organizations have been offering so much quality to our culture,
> whilst receiving a reasonably modest sum is not only short sighted, but
> serves in sending us all a message that there exists an active bias
> towards more established and privileged sectors in the art world. Gone
> are the days when art was supported because of its challenging contexts,
> it is now more about what fits in via a top-down agenda, not the
> criticalness of the art or culture itself, as a whole.
> As some may have noticed, our funding is at the lower end of the scale,
> and obviously fails to reflect sufficiently the amount of hard work we
> actually put into getting everything up and going. A seven day a week
> job, with thousands of hours missing from our personal lives. We were
> lucky to slip through and somehow remain funded. But, to be honest - it
> does not feel that positive when looking around at what's left, as half
> of our culture has been deleted in one day. I have always valued the
> networked elements of having peer practitioners out there to share
> ideas, as well as be challenged, informed and re-educated by them.
> The recent cuts are unethical and declare a shallow contempt towards
> others who wish to explore more adventurous solutions creatively.
> Already the established art world was content with propping up useless
> and culturally vapid artists via unquestioning protocols and lazy
> initiatives. It has aways been a difficult terrain to deal with when
> having to re-educate those who were not willing to engage with media art
> contexts, even though they ran galleries and art magazines and proposed
> a (supposed) agenda towards new forms of art practice, hypocritically.
> It is not only the Government and its neo-liberal onslaught on anything
> of human value and worth, that has helped in hurting our once dynamic
> and thriving culture - it was the systemic ignorance of a hermetically
> sealed art world also.
> wishing you well.
> > Hi all
> > Yes a letter to journalists as soon as possible is the way to go, can we
> collectively draft it here? With some international input too please from
> those of you on this list who have been followers and supporters of new media
> art in England... It would also be good to have some voices from the new
> media art orgs that were successful, such as furtherfield and lighthouse
> perhaps, who could comment on what the loss of their extended networks means
> for their work? Mike, what does it mean for AND fest that one of the three
> orgs behind it was cut; rebecca what does it mean for AV fest that partners
> in the city such as Amino or Isis were not successful?
> > Does anyone have any names of journalists we could contact? it is hard not
> to see it as massive de investment in a little understood or appreciated
> > Hurried thoughts from London... If any non British based readers on this
> list have thoughts or need an explanation, do speak up!
> > Sarah
> > On 31 Mar 2011, at 11:08, Gary Thomas wrote:
> >> Ditto what Taylor, Mat and Mike said..
> >> And I think Ele's suggestion of a letter to The Guardian would do no harm.
> >> (It was only after the guardian's cutsblog mentioned that our gfta had
> been rejected that ace called us to encourage us to resubmit)
> >> This isn't just about cuts - it's about a lack of balance in their friggin
> >> gt
> >>> Begin forwarded message:
> >>>> From: Ele Carpenter
> >>>> Date: 30 March 2011 21:50:33 GMT+01:00
> >>>> To: [log in to unmask]
> >>>> Subject: Re: [NEW-MEDIA-CURATING] ACE funding
> >>>> Reply-To: Ele Carpenter
> >>>> Here is the list of organisations to be cut on Guardian blog:
> >>>> It's such a long list it's hard to comprehend - and as Clive says the
> >>>> media arts seem very hard hit within the percentage of visual arts
> >>>> cuts. I'm sure there's someone on this list who can download the
> >>>> Guardian data and do the maths?
> >>>> Whilst everyone is reeling in shock, could we draft a letter to the
> >>>> Guardian? At don't think it's gonna make a difference - but visibility
> >>>> seems important. Maybe there'll be a Media Arts Block with the
> >>>> http://artsagainstcuts.wordpress.com protests now.... ?
> >>>> Any ideas?
> >>>> Ele
> >>>> On 30 March 2011 20:45, Clive Gillman wrote:
> >>>>> Don't want to start a new line, but it feels like some comment is
> needed on
> >>>>> the complete wipeout of ACE-funded organisations working with new media
> >>>>> announced today - folly, PVA, Mute, Access Space, Lovebytes, Proboscis,
> >>>>> Vivid. Been out of the loop in England, but is that it for Arts Council
> >>>>> England support for new media ?
> >>>> --
> >>>> Ele Carpenter
> >>>> Curator
> >>>> Lecturer, MFA Curating, Dept of Art, Goldsmiths College, Uni of London.
> >>>> m: +44 (0)7989 502 191
> >>>> www.elecarpenter.org.uk
> >>>> www.eleweekend.blogspot.com
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