Georgina Barney – An Artist on Farming

Georgina Barney is captivated by farming, in theory, art and practice. Today she publishes GB Farming: An Island Journey, a book that records her time on 14 farms and her subsequent artistic investigations of the culture of farming in Britain. This text is my introduction to her work. To download extracts from the book or to find … Continue reading Georgina Barney – An Artist on Farming

Making nothing happen: art and civil society in troubled times

This is the text of a talk given on 3 September 2016 in Berlin at an event to mark the fifth anniversary of the Tandem Exchange programme.  • On the morning after Britain voted to leave the EU, the novelist Philip Pullman tweeted: ‘We had a headache, so we shot our foot off. Now we can't walk, … Continue reading Making nothing happen: art and civil society in troubled times

Both Sides of the Coin

Both Sides of the Coin: The Distinctive Value of Art in Health Care A text commissioned by, an Irish arts and health website developed by the Waterford Healing Arts Trust (WHAT) and Create, the development agency for collaborative arts in social and community contexts: follow this link to read the piece in context.  Art and … Continue reading Both Sides of the Coin

Whose line is it, anyway?

One lovely evening this summer, I stood waiting in the lobby of the Market Theatre in the Herefordshire town of Ledbury. The sunshine spilling through the windows was starting to get uncomfortably warm, but no one seemed to mind. The space was crowded and there was a babble of anticipation as people waited for the … Continue reading Whose line is it, anyway?

Friendly Interest

For much of the British media, 2014 began with a panic about the opening of the UK’s borders to people from Romania and Bulgaria. It remains to be seen whether more of them will come here than the  Britons who have used  the EU’s freedom of movement rules to settle abroad. In 2005, according to … Continue reading Friendly Interest

Quality in community art (MCV7)

The McMaster Review Fashions sometimes change quickly in the arts, and in arts policy too. In July 2007, the then Secretary of State for Culture, James Purnell, commissioned Sir Brian McMaster to undertake a review of 'excellence in the arts'. The report was published in January 2008 and for a few months, the art world … Continue reading Quality in community art (MCV7)

‘All in this together’

The de-politicisation of community art in Britain, 1970-2011 The term ‘community art’ came into use in Britain at the beginning of the 1970s, at a time when the cultural experimentation of the 1960s was confronted both by harsh economic conditions and by more concerted resistance from a cultural establishment beginning to recognise the nature of … Continue reading ‘All in this together’

Drawing together

A couple of years ago Deborah Aguirre Jones  began a project working with women experiencing mental health problems in Bristol, where she lives. Supported by a local organisation, Creativity Works, she invited the participants to make drawings to be given to local women artists, who would make a drawing in exchange. Over a period of weeks, … Continue reading Drawing together

Culture and the crisis

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 … Continue reading Culture and the crisis