institutional support & community support for the arts are different and recognised to be so in sport

It’s all here, from Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage’s Cultural Policy in New Zealand (page last updated 8 October 2021):

An early concentration on supporting the “high arts” was supplemented in the 1970s by structures and policies to support a wider range of cultural activities in New Zealand’s local and ethnic communities. Policies came to be concerned with encouraging community participation as well as supporting cultural practitioners. This shift in policy reflected the concept of cultural development promoted internationally by UNESCO.

what was ok in the 70s is not ok now. Note also the shift is to cultural development. It comes endorsed by UNESCO. However as a replacement for support of professional artists and arts institutions, cultural development may be readily conflated with the policies of development economics such as were rolled out in developing countries in the early phases of the New International Economic Order that replaced the Bretton Woods system.

1 = “high arts” [it’s outrageous that an official government website page in 2023 uses this phrase, high arts, as if to signal both the elitism of certain cultural activities and that ‘we’ know which ones they are (cf. here)] – support for professional artists and arts institutions –  “the best possible art by professional artists for the most diverse possible audience” (Nicholas Hytner, from here)

2 = supporting a wider range of cultural activities encouraging community participation

and 3 = (specific to Nz Aa? or generalisable to sectors of the population lacking privilege for reasons due to gender, class and race in any country) honouring obligations of equal access and opportunity to Māori, specifically under the Treaty, and to Pacific peoples

the three areas are different and irreducible one to the other, any such reduction being a levelling down of state-funding and support, an excuse to cut costs while claiming a social-moral good based on an unspoken consensus as to what constitutes such a good

Here are the social-moral do-gooders’ smiling faces and their social-moral do-gooding purposes and principles, and no mention of the cultural elitism implied by high arts or ulterior motives, like the sustaining of CNZ as the only fully funded arts organisation in New Zealand Aotearoa:

[CNZ’s] purpose

[CNZ’s] purpose is to encourage, promote and support the arts in New Zealand for the benefit of all New Zealanders.

[CNZ’s] Guiding principles

The principles [it] follow[s] include recognising and upholding:

  • the cultural diversity of the people of New Zealand
  • the role in the arts of Māori as tangata whenua
  • the arts of the Pacific Island peoples of New Zealand
  • participation, access, excellence, innovation, professionalism and advocacy.

note the avoidance of the word and the notion institution. For the Ministry for Culture this is covered by the term “high arts” and that 70s thing. From CNZ we can expect the word organisation, which is not the same thing.

I wrote an earlier post here about the autumn edition of Metro Magazine‘s special report on what it called the curious case of the collapsing culture. Editor Henry Oliver called it a crisis.

I answered my critical response to Metro‘s coverage here.

The reason for the current post follows, Nicholas Hytner’s response to the cultural crisis the UK is undergoing. He is much more creative than I am and points to the improbability that one funding agency can deliver on two remits, both supporting the professional arts and arts institutions and at the same time providing the means for community participation at all levels in culture and in the arts. (see below)

It’s like the old distinction between Theatre in Education and Drama in Schools. TIE was about professional practitioners coming to schools and performing for students and being paid to do so. Drama in Schools is about the students themselves performing, perhaps under the guidance of a professional but this is not guaranteed. The students of course benefit from both as we might were both supported.

Nicholas Hytner writes in the Guardian: that for the UK,

Maybe the way forward is for the arts to use sport as a model. There are two distinct funding bodies for sport. UK Sport has, in its own words, “a very clear remit at the ‘top end’ of Britain’s sporting pathway, with no direct involvement in community or school sport”. And it wins us medals. The other, Sport England (which has equivalents in the other home nations) invests in sport and physical activity to make it a normal part of life for everyone and gets us out on the track at the weekend. Both functions are vital.

[Nicholas Hytner’s] proposal, then, for a Labour government [in the UK], is to fund, in addition to the Arts Council, a new body as expert in its field as Sport England. In doing so, recognise the importance of participation in the arts with its own funding stream, to which new community-based initiatives as well as established education and outreach programmes can apply. And re-establish the arts in schools.

Meanwhile, focus the Arts Council’s existing grant on making the best possible art by professional artists for the most diverse possible audience.