A new report was launched today called ‘ Cultural Capital – A Manifesto for the Future’, making the argument that arts funding should not be cut by the next government – (elections will probably be on May 6th). Seen as a luxury rather than a necessity, the arts are always the first victims of heavy funding cuts, (usually in parallel with other ‘non-essential’ services such as education, the health service, and defence). I jest, but cutting the arts will not upset the tabloid press, and will therefore be eyed up as a safe place to begin tightening budgets. The report confidently defends the creative industries in a pre-emptive strike, cleverly quoting the leaders of the three main political parties and what they say in support of the arts. Even the subtitle on the front page of the report sounds like the final conclusion – “Investing in culture will build Britain’s social and economic recovery“.
This report was put together by 17 different organisations including the ‘Arts Council of England’, ‘Museums, Libraries and Archives Council’, and ‘Visit England’. It very much talks about culture in terms of audiences to arts events, (which is fine), but not so much (though a little) about participation in the arts, as is the emphasis of community media & arts. That is fine also. In community media & arts we need to realise we need to do the lobbying ourselves, and not expect other sectors – no matter how related – to fight for us. The report has some important things to say, so I hope the new government (whoever they may be) takes heed.
“Creativity is the key to economic recovery. Public investment in the arts and heritage helps to generate the cultural capital that feeds the creative industries with knowledge, practical experience and inspiration. Every artist is an entrepreneur, cultural organisations and educational institutions nourish the people and ideas that make money for this country through design, fashion, advertising, computer games, music, film and television. A creative economy depends on its cultural resources: during a decade of investment in public sector arts and heritage, the creative and cultural industries have grown faster than the rest of the economy, and account for 6.2% of GrossValue Added.” (page 7)
To read the whole report click here for the pdf.