UAL’s Vice-Chancellor Nigel Carrington has responded to comments by Maria Miller, the Culture Secretary, that the UK’s cultural sector should be presented as a “commodity” in order to make the case for public funding.
Giving a speech to cultural figures at the British Museum, Mrs Miller said: “In an age of austerity, when times are tough and money is tight, our focus must be on culture’s economic impact.”
Writing on his blog, Nigel concedes that the cultural sector needs to speak language the Treasury understands, but adds:
“In continually making the economic argument, we’re in danger of losing sight of how much more the cultural sector (and arts education) gives us. The arts make us think, challenge our assumptions, provide new perspectives, help us understand other points of view, make us compassionate, angry, resilient, inspired.
“Not all art is important and not all art is good. But the relatively small level of public funding that the UK cultural sector receives is vital to the good and important art that this country produces in spades, because it enables artists to experiment, take risks and occasionally fail. If it is lost, the social consequences will be as painful as the economic ones.”