:: Monday, December 01, 2003 ::

Culture for All?

BBC: McConnell's 'arts for all' vision | Herald: Guarded welcome for promise of culture for all

The debate over access to the arts is on again. It seems pretty clear to me that the arguments made by the Edinburgh People's Festival have hit home with politicians. The BBC reports:

"Mr McConnell said that in the last century the concepts of education and health for all became "pillars of modern society".

"I do not think it is impractical or romantic to introduce the idea that our next major enterprise will be arts for all,"

Of course New Labour are now abandoning the idea of universal health and education, indeed the whole concept of universality has been chucked on the tip by Blair and co. So you will forgive my scepticism about the promise of "arts for all" from the party currently engaged in establishing 'foundation hospitals' and tuition fees.

There seems to be much scepticism amongst the arts community too, they've heard it all before.

A L Kennedy says in the Herald: "It sounds good, but he's lying. It's bread and circuses to get you to toe the party line. No politician wants such a policy to go in to arts groups and actually be applied."

What I think needs to be encouraged is genuine grassroots art. There are kids who have never been given a break and who end up engaging in anti-social behaviour, but who have lots of talent. Let's try to encourage that, then our communities will feel more ownership of the arts, and the arts will be putting something back in.

Meanwhile the Edinburgh People's Festival will be having an Xmas special - 'live in Saughton Prison'. A very exclusive affair, you might just catch it if your case comes up in the next few weeks.

:: Alister | 11:48 am | save this page to del.icio.us Save This Page | permalink⊕ | |


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