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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The Movement for Cultural Democracy has now had the opportunity to consider the Arts Council commissioned report ‘Cultural Democracy in Practice’. It has done so with its members during its recent working sessions at The World Transformed in Liverpool and online.

We are agreed that the Arts Council report has almost nothing to say about Cultural Democracy – in practice, in principle or as public policy.… READ MORE

I was kindly asked to talk alongside Labour MP Laura Pidcock, Jessie Jo Jacobs (Policy and Campaigns Officer, Northern TUC) and Ramona McCartney (National Officer for the People’s Assembly) at the People’s Assembly event, “In Place of Austerity”, in Newcastle on 20th January 2018. It was an incredibly inspiring day!READ MORE


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UPDATE: ARTISTS’ UNION ENGLAND HAVE WRITTEN TO ARTS COUNCIL ENGLAND. SIGN THE PETITION HERE.

The appointment of Rupert Murdoch’s daughter Elisabeth Murdoch to Arts Council England’s National Council is not only deeply troubling, given her close ties to the Murdoch corporate empire, but is also a glaring example of how nefarious the UK arts establishment has become.… READ MORE

I believe that there is not enough emphasis placed upon understanding the theoretical and historical perspectives and contexts of ‘participation’ that are, for me, crucially important to both practice and research that engages with people, place, power and politics.  Similarly, I also believe that, whilst this field is situated within ‘the social’, there is not enough emphasis on how practice and research may fit with broader understandings of art and society, nor, for that matter, with wider theoretical from other interrelated disciplines. READ MORE

There’s been a lot written about Boiler Room’s involvement with Notting Hill Carnival and its future funding from Arts Council England’s Ambition For Excellence programme to produce a film about the event.  I do not intend to rehearse those discussions here.  There have been many valid points raised on both sides of the argument. … READ MORE

I received this letter from Richard Parry as a comment to my blog post entitled SHHH, BE QUIET! (Reflective prose about library closures, Arts Council England & middle-class asset stripping.)  Richard has been researching the arts organisation V22 for some time (as have I).  His letter which he has agreed to publish as a blog post here instead of a comment is the result of his research and relates to a number of Freedom of Information requests he has made to Arts Council England.READ MORE

This is my attempt to reflect upon the closure of libraries in the UK under a rainbow cloak of austerity provided by propaganda from the Arts Council England…  Rough and straight off the page…


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SHHH, BE QUIET!

 

Books.

Tattered, battered,

Drawn upon.

Pages infuriatingly missing.

 

Plastic armour

Protected them.READ MORE

ABSTRACT  

This article seeks to reveal the limitations of state-initiated arts and cultural projects as well as spurious notions of ‘empowerment’ by examining them in terms of homogeneity, universality and technocracy.  It focuses on issues of instrumentalism with the arts and explores how state-initiated ‘community engagement’ programmes like Creative People and Places may effectively reproduce state agendas linked to social capital theory and thereby to neoliberalism. … READ MORE

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London is awash with ‘artist-led’ initiatives that use ‘meanwhile’ spaces as temporary galleries, studios and all the usual stuff.  There are many bigger companies doing this too.  Nothing new here.  Sometimes, like in the case of Bow Arts and Balfron Tower, for example, they are rightly called out for artwashing. … READ MORE