Some thoughts on monitoring, evaluating and researching culture

Introduction Last week, I participated in a round table discussion organised by the Cultural Value Scoping Project at Tate Modern. The initiative is a collaboration between the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Paul Hamlyn Foundation,  Arts Council England and King’s College London and King's College London. It aims to explore how research, evaluation, evidence-building and analysis into cultural … Continue reading Some thoughts on monitoring, evaluating and researching culture

Please don’t close the shutters

The view from 2003 Recent developments in my country, before and since the Referendum on 23 June 2016, have been very disturbing. Post-war gains that I believed were permanent, such as respect for international conventions of human rights, are now in question. In this context, I remembered a public lecture I gave at the National Museum of Scotland … Continue reading Please don’t close the shutters

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

Making ‘arts engagement’ a reality

English arts policy has been preoccupied recently with how to increase people’s engagement in the arts. Since most people already are engaged in the arts – walk down a train and see how many people are watching, reading or listening to something if you doubt it – what that really means is increasing engagement in … Continue reading Making ‘arts engagement’ a reality

Dancing in a shared world

The 2015 daCi World Congress is taking place this week in Copenhagen, bringing together over 700 young dancers for an intensive exchange and celebration of dance. The theme is ‘Twist and Twin’ and it picks up a daCi’s growing commitment helping dancers from different cultures to work creatively together. On Tuesday morning, I was lucky … Continue reading Dancing in a shared world

Theatre and community

It’s been a while since I last added anything here, partly because I’ve been meeting artists whose work is supported through the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation in Central Asia. As ever, I came back inspired by what people do in very challenging circumstances, and how much it matters to those involved; I will … Continue reading Theatre and community

Another Angle of Vision

The last days of September in Orkney: weather fine and sunlit mirrors in Scapa Flow and Hoy Sound. The sky in flux after a day of high wind, creating fantastic cloud shapes. White horses prance on the waves and the ocean at Yesnaby is a frothing mass. I come away from such experience with a … Continue reading Another Angle of Vision

Music as an adventure playground

Music: What is it good for? In the 1970s, at a time when we were less anxious about many things than we are today, there was a vogue for adventure playgrounds in which young people could scramble about, get dirty, build dens and invent games with only minimal adult supervision. It was a good idea, … Continue reading Music as an adventure playground

A Three Pipe Problem (MCV8)

‘What are you going to do, then?’ I asked. ‘To smoke,’ he answered. ‘It is quite a three pipe problem, and I beg that you won't speak to me for fifty minutes.’ Arthur Conan Doyle (1891) The term ‘cultural value’ appeared in British policy discourse about 10 years ago, notably in Capturing Cultural Value, a … Continue reading A Three Pipe Problem (MCV8)

A small boat on a dark sea

Text of a talk for the Greek EU Presidency conference, "Heritage First! Towards a common approach for a sustainable Europe" • 'Two gross of broken statues' In August this year, Europeans will mark the centenary of the start of the First World War, a conflict that, depending on your view of history, could be said to … Continue reading A small boat on a dark sea