Issue 53 Preview (November 2010)


Download pdf

Download Issue #53

Welcome to the the preview of the November issue of the Digest.

Key themes in this issue:

- the state of play for the cultural workforce: two reports covering up to date research in the UK Art Works: Cultural Labour Markets: a Literature Review (Kate Oakley) and the Canada based Work Flows and Flexicurity (Mijam Gollmizer and Dr. Catherine Murray) make remarkably similar observations drawing attention to the precarious nature of employment within the sector and how this impacts on diversity, conditions of service, rates of pay and family life. Canada has some solutions and interesting policy proposals…

- resource scarcity and climate change: how is the cultural sector responding?

Here again comparisons are interesting. Two new research projects both looking at this issue: Sustainable Ability (Lucy Neil OBE and Hilary Jennings) was commissioned by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and published by Mission Models Money. It focuses on the role of the cultural sector in bringing people together, questioning the assumptions of modern life and experimenting with the norm and aks us to consider whether this is an issue of personal choice of collective responsibilty. Can the Creative Industries lead us to a sustainable future? comes from Forum for the Future and focuses on the creative industries in the UK. We find that generally, we are being led rather than leading and are missing out on opportunities. The authors hope that the research will help creative businesses play a fundamental role in delivering a sustainable future whilst continuing to generate revenue and jobs in the global market.

- John Holden in Culture and Class finds that culture continues to exclude and exploit the poor. He maps out some better approaches. There are echoes of his thinking in the short paper by WolfBrown: What is Artistic Vibrancy? Writing on behalf of Weill Music Institute, Carnegie Hall, Sarah Johnson asks: What does excellence look like in a maximum security prison or a shelter for the homeless? And suggests there are two essential elements: making musical and human connections.  ‘In these situations, quality must be determined specifically and rigorously in relationship to the artists and audiences. In this collaborative model, the musicians become highly invested, and their work both feeds and challenges them as artists and humans’. Ah. An example of John Holden’s thinking about how to change not only what cultural institutions do, but also how they do it, in order to create a common culture.

- that we do not broadly share a common culture also emerges from the Arts in Wales 2010 survey of participation and attendance. There is much to celebrate but a long way to go before people with least educational success participate equally with those who have most and we see this again in the report from the National Endowment for the Arts(US) into how technology influences arts participation: education is a decisive indicator of disparities in access and participation.

-we bring you evaluation reports of arts and mental health work carried out by Survivarts (West Lothian), Creative Partnerships’ impact on school attainment and attendance (England), and a review of early years music making carried out by Douglas Lonie on behalf of Youth Music (England) – all three are packed with useful insight. Will these youngsters, the subjects of the latter two reports, consequently emerge as adults who create and participate in culture? The evaluation of Creative Partnerships comes just as the project falls casualty to the Spending Review.

Moving swiftly on…

- the Creative Industries feature several times in this issue. We’ve included the Abstract and Summary of Recommendations from Tom Harvey’s research report: How public and private investment can work better together to build the creative industries in the UK – he makes a strong case for valuing – and better supporting – the sector in the regions. Creative Industries in Northwest Europe: mapping the innovation opportunities investigates the relationship between the CI’s and innovation and includes case studies from the eight cities forming the ECCE INNOVATION project on which this report is based.


We hope you will log in and enjoy, or become a subscriber, if you are not one already.

Judy Seymour