Balancing Cultural Participation and Cultural Production

Stove Curatorial Team contribution to National Culture Strategy Consultation

NB the term ‘artist’ is used throughout as a collective term that includes performers, musicians, writers, visual artists, designers, curators etc

The core objective behind this idea is to support a more equal balance between two approaches to cultural production in Scotland. Current emphasis and investment is in the professional production of cultural ‘product’ which is then offered for consumption by the general population. Whilst not wishing to in any way diminish a commitment to excellence and quality we propose Scotland place an equal (or greater?) emphasis on participation, access and inclusion in the production of culture – such that creativity is understood as a vital part of all walks of life rather than something which some people do whilst other people watch.

We have two specific proposals for a strategy that would support this overall objective:

1. A policy of active support for the founding of grassroots and artist-led ‘public arts centres’ in communities of all sizes. These centres would be vary in what they offered according to the people who set them up and the context of the specific community – but they would share the founding principles of being accessible, inclusive and supportive of people participating in the creation of culture.

Such a policy could not be developed by the cultural sector alone – it would need to be a collaborative venture that includes: Local Authorities, Education sector, Health/Wellbeing Sector and Enterprise/Business. Public Arts Centre would have the following societal benefits:

  • Greater community cohesion and equality
  • Giving people a greater voice in local decision-making
  • Being a ‘connector’ between different agendas/policies within a community (eg connecting economic and health/wellbeing)
  • Encouraging greater active participation of citizens in running communities (eg Public Arts Centres would take over and run former Local Authority assets – and encourage/support other groups to do the same)
  • Support regeneration in towns/villages and help balance gentrification/over-development in cities
  • Support career development, entrepreneurial activity and business innovation in the creative sector.
  • Grow Scotland’s profile in the world as a place where culture is central to every level of our society/identity

The foundations and contemporary examples of this approach exist throughout our history and culture – we would propose that such a policy starts with in-depth research (involving artists!) looking at such things as: Patrick Geddes, Town Artist ‘movement (David Harding et al), Artist Placement Group, Art Labs, town bands, community festivals, social clubs – as well as contemporary examples such as The Stove Network, Fresh Ayr, Paisley City of Culture, Rig Arts, North Light Arts, North Edinburgh Arts, Taigh Chearsabhagh, Deveron Arts, Platform, Wave Particle, CCA, Plantation Productions etc etc

 

2. Embedding the occupation of ‘artist’ within the wider structure of society. Currently artists are seen as of ‘marginal’ value in society – they are often seen as a luxury that has to take second place when there are ‘more serious’ issues at hand. A Scottish Cultural Policy should aim to re-establish the occupation of artist as one of the building blocks of our society. To do this the state should have covenant with the artists in our society whereby income for artists  is clearly understood as bringing benefit right across communities and policy agendas. For example:

  • All public projects should involve artists from the design stage (eg the Watershed project in Calgary, Canada where an artist is part of the design team for every infrastructure project carried out by the city’s water board)
  • State/Local authority purchasing/commissioning policy to buy work/time from artists at recognised rates (look to examples in other countries eg Norway)
  • Structured role for artists within our national Education and Health/Wellbeing systems.

 

At the beginning of October this year The Stove will be hosting a 2-day Gathering in Dumfries (co-produced with Creative Scotland) to explore the civic role of arts organisations (particularly in relation to placemaking). We will be debating and developing these ideas at this Gathering – please get in touch if you are interested to be involved.

www.thestove.org

Why the contribution is important

Such a policy could not be developed by the cultural sector alone – it would need to be a collaborative venture that includes: Local Authorities, Education sector, Health/Wellbeing Sector and Enterprise/Business. Public Arts Centre would have the following societal benefits:

  • Greater community cohesion and equality
  • Giving people a greater voice in local decision-making
  • Being a ‘connector’ between different agendas/policies within a community (eg connecting economic and health/wellbeing)
  • Encouraging greater active participation of citizens in running communities (eg Public Arts Centres would take over and run former Local Authority assets – and encourage/support other groups to do the same)
  • Support regeneration in towns/villages and help balance gentrification/over-development in cities
  • Support career development, entrepreneurial activity and business innovation in the creative sector.
  • Grow Scotland’s profile in the world as a place where culture is central to every level of our society/identity

by MattBaker on August 14, 2017 at 04:43PM

Current Rating

4.75
Average score : 4.7
Based on : 4 votes

Comments

Log in or register to add comments and rate ideas