It’s nearly five years since bank defaults burst the neoliberal economic bubble and the world – or at least the West – is still far from having found a durable response. There isn’t even much agreement on what happened, still less about what it means.
But the cultural sector does seem to agree on one thing, at least: it had nothing to do with us. Like others experiencing grant cuts, falling spending power and job losses, the cultural profession feels like a bystander in this crisis, a victim, even, of the greed of others.
There’s an inconsistency here. Either culture generally (and the arts specifically) are important or they’re not. They can’t only be responsible for the good things. I’ve always held that they are of fundamental, if complex and uncontrollable, importance to human societies, because they express what people believe (including what they aren’t aware they believe). That idea lies behind the title of this site; here’s a conference paper about that importance. Continue reading “Culture and the crisis”