I'm watching this debate with interest from Brisbane where I'm based for most of this year for health reasons. It was clear when the government announced the cuts to Arts Council funding that there would have to be draconian measures. It was predictable that the younger, not long established clients (which would include many media arts orgs) and those with "challenging" agendas would be likely to suffer disproportionally compared than the longer established, traditional (and conservative) clients.
I'm reminded of the late 1960's when the Arts Council (of GB at that time) under demand from contemporary practitioners set up the New Activities Committee. Bill Harpe, of the Great George's Project in Liverpool, was a member and I proxied for him at a few meetings. Another member of the committee had accounting skills and went through the ACGB books (which were not subject to public scrutiny at that time). He reported at one of those meetings that the kitchen subsidy at the Royal Opera House that year was greater than the total sum of money going to living practitioners in all disciplines.
Well, good luck with it all. I look forward to seeing many of you again later this year in Liverpool at the Rewire Conference.
On 01/04/2011, at 3:11 AM, Clive Gillman wrote:
> This is all a rich vein of conversation, but what can be done ?
> There has been a suggestion here that some level of correspondence might be appropriate - and I'm sure ACE will be fairly resilient to that - but it might help jog the conscience of some officers that a set of decisions that may have been taken individually have created a compounded effect upon an important area of practice (was any review made at this level or were all the decisions made at the individual application level ?). So who is to lead on this ? (Bronac ?)
> Is there also scope for a more strategic approach aimed at reminding ACE of the paradox of their position ? (again this has been articulated well in this list over the past 24hrs). However, without an internal advocate it might be difficult to get any purchase for such an approach. There was a suggestion that other alternative sources of funding from ACE might be available from 2012, so perhaps the best that can be gained is to get them to acknowledge a mistake that requires a national response in 2012 ?
> The academic partnership and independent approach are positive stories, but personally I'd like to see an Arts Council that recognises that the most significant areas of practice are often those in emergent forms and seeks to invest and nurture them.
> But like Simon, I'm up north across the border and not feeling the pain directly, but it has come as a real shock to see so many organisations that I have worked with directly being culled in this way. Like the early practice of video art in the UK that has been resurrected through research projects like Rewind, the best we might achieve here is to hold on to some kind of legacy - but perhaps that's better than a landscape devoid of any memory of this work and hope for its future influence.
Paul Brown - based in OZ February to August 2011
mailto:[log in to unmask] == http://www.paul-brown.com
OZ Landline +61 (0)7 3391 0094 == USA fax +1 309 216 9900
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Synapse Artist-in-Residence - Deakin University
Honorary Visiting Professor - Sussex University