Cultural democracy is not new, but rather an idea that has found a newly conducive context. This is much to do with the growing belief amongst younger generations that change is necessary and that they can and will make it happen. It is also perhaps a confluence between a budding socialist agenda for the UK and the dissatisfaction of so many cultural practitioners over a longstanding retrenchment in public funding for the arts that has sought to control rather than nurture. We should not underestimate what cultural democracy is up against regarding the debilitating effect that increasing privatisation of the arts has been making on this sector. Its ongoing corporate capture indeed seems to be going from bad to worse with the recent appointment of a member of the Murdoch family to Arts Council England’s National Council. It will be up to those who understand that a society stands or falls on the creativity employed by all its citizens to turn this around and enable the democratic values held so dear in societal terms to also enter the sphere of creativity and culture.
Loraine Leeson, Artist, academic, Arts for Labour.