City Arts Imagine Programme

On the futility of comparing experiences

It’s a genuine shock when the soprano hits her first note. The contrast between the purity of the sound and its location is disconcerting. To hear such a voice in the functional environment of a residential home day room rather than a concert hall seems bizarre at first. There are thirty elderly residents, perhaps half of…

Mike White

Mike White

The most potent contribution that this new field of arts practice can make is the revelation of just how creative community health can be. Arts Development on Community Health, A Social Tonic, Mike White 2009 Mike White, who died at home yesterday after a long illness, was a pioneer in community-based arts and health. His…

Jubilee Arts Archive

Optimism is a valuable resource

  Jubilee Arts was a pioneering community arts project founded in 1974, in West Bromwich, an industrial town west of Birmingham. It thrived for more than 20 years, making imaginative and serious art with local communities. Then, during the ‘aspirational’ New Labour years, Jubilee Arts was crushed by the effort to establish a permanent place…

Paul Tuge where he hid after shooting a policeman in 2001 - David Goldblatt, 18 February 2010

Serious stories

‘I’m certainly not doing this for some high-flown reason. I don’t consider myself to be a reformer, and I don’t think this is going in any way whatever to affect the rate of crime.’ The auditorium is dark and quiet. David Goldblatt seems very small against the huge black and white photograph projected behind him.…

Albert Camus by Petr Vorel

From Newspeak to Nonspeak

General elections don’t happen very often so it’s odd that this one should be so dull. The campaign has slipped from the headlines and radio presenters have even taken to reassuring listeners it will soon be over. It’s not as if there’s nothing at stake. The parties are not the all same: everyone will be…

UstatShakirt

Traditional culture and community art

There was a time when I dismissed traditional art as a medium for socially engaged practice. As a young community artist, I thought only contemporary forms could explore current issues. Like all prejudices, this was rooted in ignorance: I knew almost nothing about traditional arts. It was researching the Scottish fèisean movement that opened my…

Music Matters

Music matters

 • There’s so much to say about this film that it’s better to say nothing, except that it reminds of something Phil Ochs once wrote: ‘ah, but in such an ugly time the true protest is beauty’. Thanks to Lukas Pairon for telling me about the film.