On the use of the word ‘professional’

'Contempt for and indifference toward intellectual passions and creativity where these are not remunerative are precisely concordant with financial hierarchies. The painter is taken seriously when the hype of the media ascribes to his work monetary value'. George Steiner, My Unwritten Books, 2008 There’s an article by Claire Bishop on the Guardian website in which, … Continue reading On the use of the word ‘professional’

Corporate thought police

I grew up during the Cold War, when Eastern Europe seemed just a foggy buffer zone between the Soviets and us. We were taught that life under communism meant a total loss of freedom: of career or residence, of action or thought. We read George Orwell and Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Koestler and Camus. In France, where … Continue reading Corporate thought police

A Different Heartbeat (MCV 3)

The gold standard in evaluation Twenty years ago, when I began thinking about how to improve the evaluation of community arts programmes, I turned to practice in health and medicine. I had been working with other artists in hospitals, care centres and other institutions for several years. Two large projects had been funded by the … Continue reading A Different Heartbeat (MCV 3)

Serious amateurs

The modern system of art is not an essence or a fate but something we have made. Larry Shiner, 2001 Members of West Bromwich Operatic Society can be sensitive about being called amateurs, not because it is inaccurate, but because of the perception that amateur has become a synonym for mediocre (and their work is … Continue reading Serious amateurs