New Policies for the Arts

On the first Monday of Party Conference in October, Boris Johnson MP, will be outlining his views on the Arts at an Arts Council sponsored fringe event entitled “The Arts and the Next Government”. He will be hoping to get across the message that the Arts in this country are under-funded and fettered by a bureaucracy more interested in tallying social quotas than in supporting, promoting and investing in the Arts.

The issue of freedom then, will be at the heart of his speech. Museums, galleries and other artistic venues should be free to appoint the trustees of their choice, to raise money howsoever they can and to go about promoting themselves to as large an audience as possible free from the tyranny of target-driven quotas. This is not, however, an excuse to cut central government grant. The Shadow Treasury team has agreed with Boris to carry forward current levels of funding in the Arts into the future. Concretely, Boris will be hoping to help the Arts by fostering in this country a philanthropic culture similar to that found in America. Giving to the Arts needs to become both socially and financially more rewarding for the Arts to be placed on a sustainable basis for the future. More details of tax structure and how it could be altered to create a more amenable environment for the Arts will be outlined at an event to be held on 15th November at the National Gallery.

Information contributed by Olly – researcher to Boris Johnson MP. He invites your comments.

9 thoughts on “New Policies for the Arts”

  1. All very reasonable except the mention of helping “the Arts by fostering in this country a philanthropic culture similar to that found in America”. It seems that British governments have been trying to do this for years – without a lot of success.

    The Americans manage the arts well within certain limitations, so do the Germans within other ones. Unfortunately In Britain we try to combine elements of both European and American systems, trying to be educational and socially relevant on the one hand, and appealing to business on the other.

    The result is that we have huge arts administrations that both overspend and stiffle creativity. They neither appeal successfully to the public, nor do they attract much support from business.

    A good example is Scottish Opera, a company perennially in crisis. I am not sure of the figures now, but when I first encountered them they were using a half-strength orchestra while employing 4 press assistants and a series of managers devoted to fringe activities.


  2. whilst I agree, in part, I do feel that philanthropy re the arts should not be too elitist. Many children never get to experience even run of the mill perfomances. You need to encourage and fund groups which take things like opera and ballet to areas outside central London and make the tickets affordable.

    I took my daughter to see surrey opera’s performance of Don Giovanni when she was 10, that has provided the base for a 10 year love of opera, and other music. Likewause seeing a performance by the London City ballet gave her an appreciation of that.

    Both these perfomances were at the Fairfield HAlls in Croydon, and as a widowed single parent both of these took a large chink out of my widows pension.

    Children need these oportunities to become lovers of all sorts of arts. Please Boris consider the needs of people with a tighter budget !

  3. Comments? Sure: It’s a nice looking site. But I’ve a couple of minor quibbles.

    As you indicate in the head of the document that you’re using ISO 8859-1 coding, you should have used character entity 233 on the end of the word expose.

    Whatever software you’re using to produce these posts evidently can’t cope with whatever you’re feeding it.

    And while we’re about it, why put the permalink down at the bottom on the itty bitty little posting time where people will probably miss it?

    **If you want people to link to you, make it easy for them.**

    Better to have a permalink to the main heading for the date at the top (e.g., September 24, 2004) so anyone can link to your posts for the day. If you did make it a link, you’d be advised to change the background colour for the link so it stands out, too – unless you only want to reach Young Conservatives with good eyesight. Yellow on white is a low-contrast combination – specially on a flat plasma screen.

    Then put extra permalinks on the topic headings as well (e.g., “New Policies for the Arts” and “Remember what happened to Scargill”), so people can easily fiind where to link in to individual posts, rather than the whole day’s posts in case that’s what they want to do.

  4. Good points.

    Will ask the technical chaps how to use character entities – thanks for tip.

    ***Boris will post soon we hope, in his own inimitable way.***

  5. “social quotas” – what are they and how are they used in the context of the arts? I think Boris should explain what he means, for the benefit of people like me who don’t understand bureaucratic jargon.

  6. Thank you for the warning.
    Please furnish me with the location of this year’s conference – it is not mentioned in my copy of the ‘Daily Trotskyist’ – and I am sure that I am not alone among the masses in wanting to ensure that we avoid the area.

  7. You may be interested in accessing, the website for the American Center For Arts and Culture. This website carries news and information resources on the state of the arts in that country. One gains an understanding through this information that the struggle for arts support in the U.S. is both difficult and ongoing. The policies, practice models, and results presented illustrate the fact that the U.S. hasn’t had any greater luck in assuring support for the arts than any other country. We borrow ideas from other cultures and try them in our own constituencies, hoping for breakthroughs, hoping for the best. In the end, we are gamblers who build bureaucracies along the way. Implementation and funding bodies are two examples of these bureaucracies. After a lifetime of working in the arts sector in Canada, I have yet to discover highly effectual arts support methods. Is codification of such a thing even possible?

Comments are closed.