[Hello, how are you?] [It’s the Queen of England!] So who has power in the arts? How powerful are we, as the makers, the funders, the commissioners, the programmers and of course the consumers of art? How might we use the power we have to change, to make change – and what is that change? We have great presentations from Joe Baden from Open Book, from Moira Sinclair from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Darren Henley from the Arts Council.
All of whom are kind of exploring in different ways: Where does the power lie? And how can we use that power to actually make the world a better place? By 2018, 75% of all of the National Lottery revenue we invest from Arts Council England will be spent outside of London.
But there are still fundamental structural issues around power in the arts and we have some serious challenges we are hoping to start to address.
What I love about what I’ve seen and heard this morning At Marmalade’s Art & Power event – There’s some great provocations about who holds the power in arts and culture, What sort of arts and culture we as a funder should be funding, And I think there is a really, really exciting group of people in the room, All of whom have got strong opinions – and getting those together, And hearing what people have to say, and what they think and what they feel is a really exciting creative atmosphere.
[Pay today so artists stay!] Our obsession with social mobility, as opposed to social equality and economic mobility Has simply led to an institutional environment Where working-class people of all colours and backgrounds Are not allowed to be who they really are.
[It’s been interesting as well to hear the views of people.
] [There is a sort of acceptance that there needs to be change I think.
] To some extent there is a vested interest in maintaining the status quo, for the people who currently hold the power.
The atmosphere is brilliant.
The provocations were really stimulating.
Here we are in our bubble.
[Is the job to make the bubble bigger, and bring more people in?] Or is the job to burst the bubble? It’s so good to have all these different people in the room.
[We've got artists, the venues, the members of Crisis and that’s created quite an honest, open atmosphere.
] [Refugee communities settle in Oxford.
] [They are not represented in our cultural heritage, not represented in what we are doing] in culture – and we are trying very hard through our partners in the cultural sector to tackle that divide.
We’ve got the solutions between us.
All of us have the solutions.
We have to come at things from different backgrounds, different experiences, And that way we'll find how we can re-invent and how we be innovative in the arts and culture world.
It’s much more about a set of values and behaviours that translate into action, Than it is about fulfilling the requirements of a funding application.
I think the question of art and power is entirely relevant to our work.
Social justice is thread that we like to think runs across all of the projects that we fund, And clearly a conversation about who has authority, whose voice is heard in the arts sector – That feels really critical to what we do.
[It’s a very interactive format.
] [I think that it’s great that people from Arts Council England] Are saying what – twenty years ago – wouldn't be acceptable.
Art can be especially powerful at achieving social change, and achieving change in people, But currently there are lots of decision makers and those who hold money and budgets that perhaps don’t agree with it.
So I’d like to work out how we can convince those people to commission more art, to pay for more art and see the value of it.