Cultural Collaboration and Civil Society

Last year I spent some time looking at the work of Tandem, a partnership between the European Cultural Foundation and MitOst that connects cultural actors within and close to the European space. Tandem marked its fifth anniversary last autumn, and they asked me to reflect on what they'd done and what might change. The essay below … Continue reading Cultural Collaboration and Civil Society

Worlds within words

Yesterday two short conversations reminded me of the pitfalls that make words so elusive, so fascinating and so important. The first was a question after I spoke at the Teach Through Music conference in Deptford. I’d been asked to give a talk about the value of music that I wrote for Sage Gateshead last year. … Continue reading Worlds within words

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 … Continue reading On the futility of comparing experiences

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 … Continue reading Mike White

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 … Continue reading Optimism is a valuable resource

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. … Continue reading Serious stories