I was in conversation recently with one of our leading theatre artists. The topic of the government’s impending national culture policy discussion document, culture2025, came up so I asked their opinion. They looked up from under lowered brows and uttered, in that tired contemptuous tone, a single word: “Instrumentalist”.
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It would grasp the opportunity to replace the current outdated, patronising and divisive legislation with laws that enshrine, protect and celebrate all of the above, and all the people earning a living from the culture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.