This morning I was at the Gulbenkian Foundation in London to take part in ‘Steady State?’ – the first of a series of events hosted by Mission Models Money (MMM) and ERA21 to discuss whether further growth of the arts and cultural sector is sustainable. The event was chaired by Charlotte Jones, Chief Executive of the Independent Theatre Council, and I was joined on the panel by Maurice Davies from the Museums Association, Hilary Gresty from the Visual Arts and Galleries Association, Dave Moutrey from the Cornerhouse and Lyn Gardner from The Guardian. We were asked to talk about whether the arts and cultural sector is too ‘overbuilt’. Do we have too many buildings? Too many organisations? Does the next decade need a radically different approach in the light of the UK’s deficit, the global recession and the threat to our environment? Inevitably our discussion created more questions than answers but it was an interesting debate and really good to see the voluntary arts treated seriously as an integral part of the wider arts sector. There are two further ‘Steady State?’ events next week in Edinburgh (where Fiona Campbell from Voluntary Arts Scotland is going to be on the panel) and Newcastle (where I will be taking part again).
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