An article by Tiffany Jenkins in Saturday’s (4/27) Scotsman (Edinburgh) states, “Maria Miller was appointed Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport last September.” Her keynote speech last week “began with the right noises—’culture educates, entertains and it enriches’—but quickly took a wrong turn, concentrating on what culture can ‘deliver’, specifically for the economy, using sentences such as: ‘It allows us to build international relationships, forging a foundation for the trade deals of tomorrow.’ … Miller forcefully argued that the arts sector must make the case for public funding in the age of austerity by focusing on the economic—not artistic—value of culture. … That the arts are central to the economy is not an isolated idea, or a new one. It’s one that has widespread support, refuses to go away and needs to be challenged by as many voices as possible, as often as is necessary. … If we were to nurture only that which contributed to the economy it is likely that the safe, the tried and the tested would be funded. It is likely that the new, the risky and experimental would be avoided because the question would not be is it interesting, or good, but what is the expected return? All the wrong questions of a piece, a writer and a producer would be asked. Accountants would do the programming. The bottom line would dominate.”

Posted April 30, 2013