Inputs-Outputs conference, Debating Matters, Dukes at Komedia, and more ramblings

Well, I am slowly starting to recognise myself again – there has been a little bit of tiredness the past few days. But Inputs-Outputs was great; the programme worked out very well (the plenary session was fantastic), and there was much vibrant discussion during and after the event.

The team worked very smoothly and in really good spirits the entire time. Everyone is a little tired too, but seem to be in one piece. Now we ‘just’ need to pick up on what needs to be done in terms of documentation and follow-up.

We went to Debating Matters in London yesterday; the finals. Very interesting. We watched one debate together, then there was the second one, for which I sat in the audience. It was on arts funding, and much as both teams of roughly 18-year-olds were excellent debaters, I sadly had to admit neither of them knew much about arts funding. The team that were in favour had the outline of why it is important, but not the facts to drill it home when challenged, and the team that argued against really did not understand what it was that they were critiqueing.

It is clear that young, articulate, bright people have an erroneous picture of what type of arts events get Arts Council funding (for example) – they seem to think it is either only fuddy, old-fashioned art forms, or that it is only didactic art that ‘tells people not to smoke’. They started mentioning things that ACE should fund instead, not being aware that they do, while the kind of projects they were opposed to often don’t. Basically, ACE need to start educating people about their work, before the vast hordes out there with cute and completely unrealistic ideas about art remove them, and then wonder what happens and why all those things they actually really like have gone.

We went to Duke’s at Komedia on Saturday night. Nicely redone, and a venue I will be glad to revisit, but I also remember Komedia in its heyday – before its regular ACE funding was cut. Lots of interesting theatre and music, huge variety. After their funding was cut they were gradually more and more dependent on standup comedy and tribute bands to pay their bills, until they hardly had anything else on the programme. The opponents to arts funding yesterday claimed that it ‘doesn’t promote diversity’ – having absolutely no idea what they were talking about, in reality. And that is just one example. Another girl said ‘they only fund old style theatre, and not new interesting stuff like PUnchdrunk.’ At that point, having spoken to them last week, when Colin explained that it is only since getting regular funding from the Arts Council that Punchdrunk are able to deliver their more ambitious work, I had to shout out.

Why is it that it is totally OK even among educated people to be completely ignorant about what it is that makes art possible? People somehow like to thing that artists just pull their stuff out of a box – just try to crowdfund training, rehearsals, builds, preparations, without which the magic that you see, and people are willing (at least some of the time) to pay for. No one expects education or medicine to be practiced in a vacuum, magically appearing out of nowhere.And all that romantic cr*p about art existing in some sort of rarefied sphere, untouched by the context in which it sits, and upon which it depends: ‘but I don’t want art to be about money – I would like it to be about something better than that’ (I kid you not, I heard that very comment yesterday from an otherwise very bright man, studying politics and international relationships). Cut the funding, we prefer our artists romantically starving in the garrets! Another clanger cliche from yesterday “great art often comes out of suffering.’ Would you like that person to decide about arts funding? Replace ‘art’ with anything else of your choosing, and play with the logic.

And these are well-meaning, intelligent kids, who pride themselves on being able to use logic. It’s frightening.

Anyway. The conference went really well, and there are interesting possibilities for the future, that I now need to start nursing.


One Response to “Inputs-Outputs conference, Debating Matters, Dukes at Komedia, and more ramblings”

  1. Bra rutet!!!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: