Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Arts Council Latest

As the fallout continues surrounding the appalling £400,000 Olympic logo, Howard Barker describes in the Guardian how his theatre company is a victim of Olympic fever.

Baker's suggestion that his not receiving Arts Council funding amounts to 'censorship' is curious. Still, he makes some illuminating points about the nature of arts funding in Britain:

This execution of a thriving and innovative company was judged to be legitimate by the officers of the Arts Council. That their operating criteria for providing funds are now entirely unrelated to artistic excellence is still not widely understood in the theatre world. Sociological, therapeutic, essentially political objectives entirely dominate the decision-making process. The Wrestling School has only its reputation, its creative will, and its achievement to recommend it in this withering climate.
Political interference is now seen to be the standard practice of the funding system. We live with the washed-out remains of a Stalinist bureaucracy obsessed not with art but social welfare projects, points-systems and 'public benefit' scrutiny, which annihilates (or rather, in the context, "liquidates") thriving and ambitious companies and artists. Any arts ministers who valued their estate should have vigorously opposed both the cuts and the criteria by which the cuts were imposed; instead they submitted to the athletics hysteria.

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