Digital tools offer us a new, digital democracy. We can be visible, have a voice, be it video, text, images, sign language... talk. Through social media we can self publish and cut out agents, commissioners and authorities that would traditionally own decision making, represent and control culture.
At Talkin’ Culture we harness the potential of this new landscape to support Arts & Heritage at a time of harsh funding cuts, severe curriculum shifts seeing an alarming decline in arts and craft subjects at schools and even a shocking decline in exhibition attendance.
The Arts Council have reported a 16.6 million drop to National Portfolio Organisations in London between 2015/16 and 2016/17, a staggering figure for the capital and regional growth is marginal or declining. We have a seriously blocked pipeline, new entrants are faced with unpaid internships which is not only bad practice but reinforces social inequality, dictating who can afford to enter the sector. We have trustee boards that lack diversity, token change and optional recommendations aren’t acceptable when real conditions for change are needed. Both ends of the pipe are blocked.
Arts & Heritage is a wealth of cultural riches, past and present, rammed with diverse artists, the fight for artistic freedom, the compassion of creativity, yet we have arrived at a gigantic disconnect. These riches sit in economic, educational and social poverty. At Talkin’ Culture we see this as social injustice raising serious questions too in terms of The Equality Act. The benefits of access to Arts & Heritage are equally well reported be it wellbeing, community cohesion, innovation in business and education, on a local, regional and national scale.
When did you last think of your local museum as yours? What sense of equal and shared ownership do we all have in Arts & Heritage? The evidence is clear in reports that the predominant audience is white and middle class. The survey Panic! It's an Arts Emergency! 2018, (http://createlondon.org/event/panic2018/) reinforced the significant findings of the Warwick Commission Report, 2015. (https://warwick.ac.uk/research/warwickcommission/futureculture/finalreport/) The eco-system is broken, arts and culture is being ‘systematically removed’ from the state education system, it’s the landslide to cause a tsunami of negative impact upon skills, business and innovation. With a blocked pipeline we can’t all get in. Talkin’ Culture wants to help get the doors open, speak to everybody, invite everyone in, embrace social architecture and unblock the pipeline together.
Whilst the creative case is being made on personal, professional and political levels, let’s get talking. Let’s raise the visibility and voice of Arts & Heritage through the use of digital tools as a fundamental part of creating urgent change and change the stage together.