Monday, 12 May 2008

Artists' Parliament

Mark Ravenhill - generally one of the most sensible of the luvvies - thinks he has the solution to better involving artists in decisions about arts funding. His 'parliament' idea involves getting the great and the good together where artists can debate the future of culture - and inform Arts Council choices.

Once again the discourse is privileging artists in decisions which should not be about allocating resources on the basis of artistic merit or aesthetic judgement, but on the basis of how best to deliver the public good.

I'm all for involving practitioners more closely in decision making, but sometimes the money will have to go to the amateur dramatics club and not the National Theatre.

Ultra-utilitarian perhaps, but if you do give the luvvies the veto, then you risk access to cultural opportunity by the many.

Please, can we shift the debate onto one of public value? It might even help us find the proper place for excellence as a judgement criteria.

At the moment, we appear to be living in cloud cuckoo land.

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