ANALYSIS: Arts Are Up to Speed after a Decade of Revolution; This Week the Birmingham Post Is Asking Is There Life in Regional Arts? Today, Sally Luton, Regional Executive Director of Arts Council England, West Midlands, Describes a Decade of Revolution

The Birmingham Post (England), June 15, 2007 | Go to article overview

ANALYSIS: Arts Are Up to Speed after a Decade of Revolution; This Week the Birmingham Post Is Asking Is There Life in Regional Arts? Today, Sally Luton, Regional Executive Director of Arts Council England, West Midlands, Describes a Decade of Revolution


Byline: Sally Luton

It would be odd - not to say professional suicide - for the Executive Director of the Arts Council's West Midlands office to respond to the question of 'whether there is life in regional arts' in anything other than the positive.

At one level, the response is just a big fat yes. The evidence? Well, we can start with the 1,100-plus applications to our Grants for the Arts scheme in the West Midlands this year and the 500 successful awards which provided opportunities for thousands of people to participate and experience arts practices, differentiated by artform, geography, community, ethnicity and gender, in a huge variety of settings - from nurseries to residential homes for the elderly and everything in between including concert halls, arts centres, galleries and theatres.

The sheer scale, range and quality of arts activity taking place in this region demonstrate that regional arts are thriving as never before, reflecting the situation right across the country.

Of course I would say that - but you don't have to take my word for it. Earlier this year, in his cultural speech to arts leaders at Tate Modern, Tony Blair declared the arts and culture throughout the UK are "more confident, more assertive, more creative and alive" than a decade ago.

The Prime Minister's affirmation of the importance of the arts to this country echoes the voices of countless politicians, civic leaders, regeneration experts and health professionals - all of them recognising and endorsing the role which the arts play in delivering a distinctive sense of place, quality of life and community development.

But am I missing the point? Is the question really about scale and range? Or is there an inference the arts that are the most "alive" tend mainly to be in London?

Again, and unsurprisingly, my response would be to challenge any such suggestion.

It is of course the case the London region (yes London is a region too!) is home to many artists and hosts an enviable array of performances, screenings and exhibitions. But for it to be otherwise would be unthinkable - London is a capital city and capital cities by their very nature are expected to have a significant scale of cultural offer.

But to look with envy on those assets and neglect to recognise the regional renaissance which has taken place in recent years would be shortsighted. Cities throughout England have undergone a huge regeneration, significantly transforming their physical, economic and cultural landscapes. The confidence and energy this has inspired is apparent in places like Newcastle/Gateshead, Manchester, Liverpool and, of course, not least here in Birmingham. Visitors to the city are dazzled by its continuing transformation. The city's commitment to the arts has been impressive and needs to be sustained to ensure external perceptions catch up with the reality.

With this in mind, it somehow seems both unnecessary and outdated for 'the regions' to feel the need to react defensively to what happens in London. Better that we focus on nurturing and promoting our own distinctive assets - which in this region is our diversity, our youth and our talent for making things - and reach out to the rest of the country and world through cultural exchange and collaboration to develop new ways of working and sharing best practice, which will ultimately benefit arts practitioners, participants and audiences everyw here. Just last month, Birmingham based art is Mohammed Ali (aka Aerosol Arabic) returned from a highly successful tour to the US as part of the Arts Council's Arts and Islam programme, which was initiated to help people gain an understanding of how one of the world's major religions views artistic creativity.

In the West Midlands we are extremely fortunate to have the biggest cluster of nationally and internationally recognised companies outside of London - the Royal Shakespeare Company, Birmingham Royal Ballet, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Ikon Gallery and Birmingham Repertory Theatre are all players on an international stage. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

ANALYSIS: Arts Are Up to Speed after a Decade of Revolution; This Week the Birmingham Post Is Asking Is There Life in Regional Arts? Today, Sally Luton, Regional Executive Director of Arts Council England, West Midlands, Describes a Decade of Revolution
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.