Why have Arts Council England (ACE) published data and a report about how culture can, apparently, help regenerate high streets now? Particularly given that the report does not even consider the devastating effects of COVID-19 on our everyday lives and, of course, our high streets.

The report, produced by social and economic research consultants Wavehill and entitled Arts and Place Shaping: Evidence Review, was written in May 2020 (when COVID-19 was reaching its first peak) but only published a few days ago.

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This is my take on what rewilding the arts means to me. I wrote this for Rewild the Arts . The original can be found here.

 

 

The nation and many Western countries have successfully suppressed, oppressed and controlled our arts and our cultures: narrowly defining and policing terms and practices, building brick and glass citadels for a wealthy minority and a false vision of economic growth, and creating a hierarchy which places artists as servants and denigrates many working-class communities as “hard to reach” and uncultured.

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Perhaps, it’s time for artists to learn from the COVID-19 Mutual Aid groups that are self-organising and self-seeding across the UK and the globe? Imagine if artists set up local Artists’ Mutual Aid groups to support each other through these difficult times; to begin setting out ways of speaking to power with coherent voices; to start using art to demand radical changes to the way we work and live together.

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This is the transcript of a 4 minute talk I did as the first of The Parallel State ’s RANT series. You can listen to the podcast here .

Remember what is was like to be sung to sleep?

 

Remember what is was like to be sung to sleep. If you are fortunate, the memory will be more recent than childhood.

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mUCH MORE THAN MAKING DO

 

I wrote this article for Super Slow Way, the Creative People and Places programme in Pennine Lancashire. I’m their critical friend. This is a reflection on where Super Slow Way are now and where I think they’re going.

Here’s the opening paragraph:

‘Creative People and Places has shackled itself to a notion of “place” as an area on a map.

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DUTY NOW FOR THE FUTURE

 

This is a revised version of Duty Now for the Future an article commissioned by Collecteurs NY to help launch its SUBSTANCE 100 initiative . The original article was written before the COVID-19 pandemic swept through the UK , Europe and the USA. Duty Now for the Future 2.0 is a call for everyone in the art world to finally wake up to our responsibilities in a world there can be no going back to the crass inequity of our lives before Corona virus.

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I had a conversation with fellow artist Martin Daws back in 2016. He had a great idea. imagine if artists were employed, full-time to work in communities? We worked on it. Martin then wrote a guest blog here in 2017.

This article sets out how we could easily and relatively cheaply employ artists in everyday community and how such a simple, yet radical system would create just the sort of transformative cultural change that is at the heart of Arts Council England’s new 10-year strategy, Let’s Create.READ MORE

This is the text version of my keynote paper I gave at the Culture and the Periphery conference at Gray’s School of Art, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen on 4th October 2019.

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Screenshot from  Jubilee , Derek Jarman, 1978 (Featuring Borgia Ginz.) Screenshot from  Jubilee , Derek Jarman, 1978 (Featuring Borgia Ginz.)

Screenshot from Jubilee, Derek Jarman, 1978 (Featuring Borgia Ginz.)

LOW CULTURE: NEOLIBERALISM, CONSERVATIVE SOCIAL PRACTICE AND THE UNIVERSAL MARGINALITY OF EVERYDAY LIFE

Marginality is today no longer limited to minority groups, but is rather massive and pervasive; this cultural activity of the nonproducers of culture, an activity that is unsigned, unreadable, and unsymbolized, remains the only one possible for all those who nevertheless buy and pay for the showy products through which a productivist economy articulates itself. … READ MORE

This is the transcript from my keynote speech at Nuart Festival in Stavanger on 8th September 2019. It explores nostalgia narratives in Street Art and examines the practice’s links to gentrification. But perhaps we’re all gentrifiers nowadays?

The full article on which this talk was based is available in Nuart Journal III and can be downloaded for free here .READ MORE

This is the text from my talk for the Market Forces event at the Swap Market Govanhill in Glasgow on 18th July 2019. It looks at the role artists play in the game of neoliberal planned gentrification.


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THE HYPER-MARKET STRIKES BACK!

Today, artists are portrayed by the creative industries as exemplars of a new class of creative entrepreneurs.… READ MORE