Culture 2025 – I wouldn’t start from here at all!

What should an effective Cultural Policy look like?

It would accept and work with the UNESCO definition of Culture (as the new Dublin City Cultural Policy does for example)
It would understand the critical importance of every citizen’s individual creativity throughout all of life and every strata and section of society.
It would explicitly state it’s understanding of the relationship between Creativity, Culture, Arts and Heritage, and point out that arts and heritage are the result of the culture.
It would grasp the opportunity to replace the current outdated, patronising and divisive legislation with laws that enshrine, protect and celebrate all of the above,  and all the people earning a living from the culture industries.
It would understand the impact of a vibrant culture on health, welfare, community, citizenship, creative industries and the wider economy.
It would understand that Culture works through every agency and department of government.
It would understand that culture cannot be controlled by a central agency and that culture constantly changes.
It would understand that policy and strategy must respond to culture not attempt to direct it.
It would state actions that would free creativity not constrain it.
Actions that would free creativity not constrain it
Culture2025 will do none of these things and here’s why.

Continue reading Culture 2025 – I wouldn’t start from here at all!

When is a theatre company a Theatre Company

A couple of years ago I had to end a business relationship with an old friend. Something I would rather not have done. However, it was necessary when I realised that that person’s company wasn’t a company.  It was a legal fiction, necessary if he was to receive grants and commissions, it had no assets, no investors, and no long term plan. It did one thing (one set of tasks) and repeated it again and again – whenever it got a grant or a commission. Essentially this friend did one thing and hawked that skill around: they were a freelancer. Not a company. Not really. And this came as a shock to them.

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What kind of Arts Council do we need?

As Peter Brook once remarked, theatre is now, and always has been, in crisis. Whatever the nature of the continuing existential threat that Brook Identified the truth is that theatre in Ireland (as in many other parts of the world) is facing a sustained economic and ideological challenge that will change how we conceive of, create, and experience theatre.

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The Problem with Arts Funding, Joss Whedon, and the Prison of the Imagination

In Joss Whedon’s film, Serenity,  the character River Tam is a psychic. She’s also a trained killer and very probably psychotic. She’s plagued by a memory she can’t quite get to the surface. In one of her many breakdowns she cries out to her brother: “It’s not mine. Its not mine and I shouldn’t have to carry it” Psychologically speaking the relationship between artists and the arts funding model in this country – and I suspect elsewhere – is pretty similar. The funding model with its power structures, bureaucracies and instrumental priorities is not mine, and I shouldn’d have to to carry it. And its driving us insane. In short the funding model does not support imagination and creativity. It defines it and constrains it. From a business point of view, it should be the other way round. In other words the funding model contradicts itself.

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