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People's Palace @PeoplesPalaceUK
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Delegates are leaning forward for a day of conversations about Policy in Cultural Relations in partnership with @brBritish @QMULsed
Simon Dancey @LibertadorCymru opens the debate. How can the elite networks of government officials, NGO's, academics and consultants who construct cultural policy become less self-referential and more open to wider influences, especially to the voices who challenge?
Values that are accepted by government and state networks are shared - these networks appoint experts who broadly uphold their values - and we then export our cultural policy models across the world. This leads to the global North imposing its model and values ...
... on countries and thinkers who may have much broader understandings of what culture's value is, its role within society - and therefore, how we might appropriately go about stimulating and measuring cultural actions.
Is it possible that by understanding the mechanisms by which neoliberalism has moved to a central position of dominance within cultural policy, we might be able to exploit those structures to move other voices to the centre?
It's a proposal for a counter hegemony from @LibertadorCymru: policy based around a decolonialised set of structures, critical of eurocentric thinking. We're looking for socially transformative, alternative paradigms and for ways we can move these ideas into positions of power.
Simon now gives the floor to Marta Porto, former Secretary of Cultural Citizenship at Brazil's Ministry of Culture and now the director of Agência Juntos and Co-Founder of Plano A Studio. Marta is opening with a slideshow of powerful images of cultural activism and protest.
We need firmer solutions to the crises we are facing, says Marta. What is the function of cultural policy within this?
First: we need to rescue cultural policy from the reductive idea that art is capable of producing economic and social benefits. First and foremost, art is art: its capacity for spiritual expression, to allow people to produce their own cultural hegemonies, is essential.
Cultural policies also have an essential role in allowing us to imagine structures for action and for power in the world that do not yet exist.
How else can we reinvent our visions of world, beliefs, values, ways of thinking and of acting, asks Marta? These reinventions are necessary responses to the world we find ourselves in.
Next: if our cultural policies abandon the fundamental pillar of cultural rights - if they step away from actions that ensure every individual's right to creative activity and cultural expression - then they cut off a crucial dialogue between our society and each voice within it.
It is cultural values that decide the world as it is today. When we expel immigrants from our borders, we are talking about a cultural understanding of how we determine global governance ...
So the only way for these power structures to be challenged is through a new cultural activism that produces a new public imaginary.
Now Marta hands over to Samenua Sesher @merisesher who prefaces by observing that the main division she sees in society - post-Trump, post-Brexit, in the new world - is between the surprised and the unsurprised who had been saying it for years: the fearful and the unafraid.
What is *quality* cultural participation, asks Samenua? Who deems it to be of quality?
Migration is the story of human evolution and whether it be as refugees, expatriates, economic migrants, financial-sector workers or slaves, the movement of people is the story of us.
Asad Haider sumarises a point made by Wendy Brown thus: “When the liberal language of rights is used to defend a concrete identity group from injury, physical or verbal, that group ends up defined by its victimhood and individuals end up reduced to their victimized belonging”.
This victimhood is something many artists resist fiercely. It is also the breeding ground of cultural appropriation, says Samenua. Not talking about artists who acknowledge influences from other cultures - but (for example) taking a song and putting your name on it - or, theft.
If the people who have created, generated and preserved an art form, a recognisable style or item are not able to materially benefit from it while others do, this is theft and creates an understandable anger and resentment.
It is tied to the second theme of inequality in an age of hyper capitalism and strong man politics.
Whether it be carnival, tango, curry, hip hop, classical music or grime, there is no escaping the fact that some of our most popular culture emerges from the poorest communities and most tortured souls.
Heartbreak, rage, alienation and devotion, consistently bring out the best in artists across artforms. I would like to propose that it is to these groups that the cultural world has an outstanding debt. A cultural debt ...
... and it is with that in mind that I propose the term *Creative Reciprocity*, as a means to alleviate that debt and improve the likelihood of quality cultural participation for all in a time of diffused power.
Research tells us that two things lie at the heart of conflict & marginalisation. Social and economic inequality and an inability to understand and tolerate ways of life we don’t choose for ourselves. Can cultural policy assist with these things? Undoubtedly yes, but not alone.
Alliances must be formed across worlds. This work can’t be driven by the ever changing priorities of politics or the specifics of foreign policy. This work needs to be safeguarded.
For the purposes of this paper, Creative Reciprocity is: Policy that prioritises participation, exchange & mutual benefit, in recognition of the multiple sources and origins of artistic expression, the insecurity of the artistic life ...
... and the potent force for cross cultural communication, education and wealth creation that it represents.
1.A framework of international arts education structured to benefit those receiving it and providing it. We know how to systematically share culture, but can it be done consistently in a measurable framework that possibly looks like an international creative partnership?
2.A restructuring of the notion of subsidy in the 21st century to reflect our new understanding of the role of unconscious biases. Restructured subsidy that is centred on participation whilst retaining audience and excellence.
3.A proactive exploration of how culture can alleviate inequality and promote trust. This would need a coalition of private and public, academic and charitable. And significant time for design, research and implementation phases.
This work is to be done by those who have a vested interest in reducing the toxic effects of social and economic inequality.
4.A Creative Reciprocity Network. There will be individuals, companies and collectives undertaking this work now. Working in conflict zones, with the prosecuted and the persecuted, across enemy lines and with marginalized communities.
The recent Museum Leaders report describes good leaders as those able to harness uncertainty and present it as opportunity.
In conclusion the answer to all the questions posed is yes. That policy however has to question Eurocentric notions of quality, be ambitious, focused and rather than get drunk on virtue, get high on humility. Who is helping to form and shape this cultural policy?
Our next provocateur is Leandro Valiati, who has just been awarded a Newton Advanced Fellowship by the British Academy to collaborate with Paul Heritage at Queen Mary @QMUL for 2 years from September.
From an economic perspective, says Leandro, cultural policies around the world need to be repositioned. Many countries around the world use British or French cultural policy as a paradigm - a basis for their own cultural policy.
The economic lens of supply and demand is not always revealing about culture because of the small and bespoke nature of much cultural production.
A fundamental review is needed of the ways that cultural policy conceptualizes and delivers access. Some schemes issue cultural vouchers - in Brazil, until recently, and in France - this is an interesting provocation, allowing young people to consume culture of their own choice..
Governments will always use the metrics of GDP, etc: but it's important that they also develop new metrics that can assist them to understand better the value of culture.
What is work in the field of culture? And how does it produce its outcomes? I believe that we can work towards substantive metrics that recognise cultural value produced, and better inform cultural policy.
We require these better narratives about the impact and value of culture for the 21st Century.
Now we move to the Q&A session. First question to each of the speakers: what makes them most optimistic for the future? Marta Porto answers: History, and the human capacities for protest and imagination that history recounts.
Leandro: We are in a bad moment, but one of change. Wherever we are in ten years' time, it will be new. Samenua: My optimism stems from what I hear from young people, particularly: We are done with this. No more. We demand change.
Emily Morrison picks up on Marta Porto's point: cultural policy should ensure that every human being is able to produce, create, represent life faithfully: how do we achieve that kind of democracy in policy?
Marta says: we need the economy to represent more accurately the kinds of cultural assets that are being produced across the country, every day.
But how can the state achieve this measurement without it becoming an exercise in control? Marta proposes new and better structures of consultation are required, which supports all kinds of voices, dialogues and exchanges between networks on a very local level ...
... that will bring grassroots voices into dialogue with each other but also with government. Similar structures are co-management, as seen in park libraries in Medellin.
And @LeandroValiati adds: the kind of economic movement that we are seeing at the moment requires state level intervention and regulation. The challenge of course is to make sure that this intervention is a positive one.
Gary Stewart @dubmorphology asks the panel to share with us their journeys to the viewpoints they've shared with us this morning. What have been their inspirations?
@merisesher says: Everything about me was surprising to everybody - it was exhausting. But I had to find a way to shape and share my ideas, otherwise I wasn't going to be able to breathe (and I don't say that lightly).
Another question from Tarek Virani of @NetworkCentre @QMULsed: what are the policy mechanisms that we can use to bring those grassroots voices to the places policy decisions are made?
And Faith Liddell asks: What is the policy not in existence that you would most urgently imagine?
On the first question, @LibertadorCymru says it's about ensuring that those within organisations such as @brBritish exercise their responsibility to challenge the values of the white middle- and upper-class elites in policymaking.
Marta Porto takes the second question. The structures which tried to expand cultural access by involving smaller and local organisations have not succeeded in changing the paradigm of decisionmaking. So now we need an investment in a kind of Silicon Valley for creativity ...
... an Imagination Lab, that creates not small important experiences, but reimaginings that will re-frame the ways we conceptualise and organise our cultural life and cultural policies.
Otherwise, people will die for lack of breath, says Marta Porto - picking up on @merisesher 's metaphor.
@merisesher asks: What if all policymakers were part time? Very well paid, but part time, and therefore they were freed up to also work in another context? Would create more porous structures, that make for better proximity between policymakers and the people they affect?
For @LeandroValiati the solution must be multidisciplinary and intersectional - it needs to come from collaboration between policymakers, academics and artists, and be produced in ways that respect their different ways of thinking and working, different timescales for dialogue.
After a quick slurp of coffee, we're back to the debate with Faith Liddell in the driving seat. Faith says, I have a split cultural policy personality - one side almost criminally naive and prone to cycles of irrepressible optimism.
The other me is a practised manipulator, selector of persuasive facts and narratives, who aims to shift the policy maker along with myself into a position where we can both change.
The best me, says Faith, is someone who aims to engage in constructive dialogue, or sometimes constructive dissonance, who says: You and me, where can we get to?
These ways of thinking are what produced (for example) the progress Natalia Malo was able to make in advancing trans voices and the trans agenda through her collaboration with SESC.
There is a highly efficient set of committed professionals around the world who we need to think about soldering together into a global network.
How do we understand what kinds of partnerships are enabled by policy dialogue, and which kinds just need policy to leave them alone?
How can we make the case for endless innovation in our work, and endless evolution of policy in response, ad infinitum?
We're looking for a virtuous loop driven by innovation and diverse voices, benefiting from synergy, that aggregates shared models and resources. The session, based in small group work, is called Partnerships for Creative Innovation.
Our framing questions for the discussion: 1. To what extent are creative economy models transferrable on a transnational or global scale?
2. Can creative economy models be designed to have a primary focus on social benefit/social responsibility?
3. What can innovation, digital technologies and new models of production/consumption within the creative economy bring to an increasingly mobile and volatile world characterised by fragile economies and conflict?
4. Is it possible to create equal partnerships [in the creative economy] between global south and global north?
[Rosie here] I'm wishing my fingers could have captured more of Faith Liddell's fizzing introduction to this session - the ideas and images poured out too quickly. Perhaps I'll persuade her to let me borrow her notes at lunch, and catch you up.
So, some of Faith's content that I missed. What is the research base for our understanding? We don't, for example, really understand how culture is transmitted across borders, nor what it does when it gets there.
Are there models of international policy development or transnational exchange that create the conditions and develop the connective tissue that can move cultural and creative people, ideas, values and value around in positive and dynamic ways?
If we're exploring models across countries and regions, between places, how do we really understand their value, their local adaptability, their scalability and their actually practical applicability - their genuine shareability?
What are the research and feedback loops for accumulated understanding and improvement?
How can we make the case for endless innovation in our work and in what should be the endless evolution of policy in response, and vice versa? It's hard to co-design policy because it's often embedded in wider local/national political perspectives or narrower political ambition.
... but what about vision and higher level strategy? Is that any easier to co-create and agree across governmental and non-governmental actors?
Can we help to develop policy in constructive, creative ways from above and below? Is there a virtuous loop driven by shared vision and grassroots cultural and commercial innovation?
In the creative industries, which is at the crossroads between the arts, business and technology, the question might be which policy - and what energy do those of us in the sector dedicate to joining them up? Or do we join them up by contributing to them?
What are the new public / private / social enterprise synergies that might better support the process of innovating, collaborating and connecting thinking and possibilities? Where do enterprise, innovation and partnership sit within them?
In the world of citizen to citizen communication, online networked activism and highly interactive commercial platforms, what about cultural citizen policy influence and development? How can we innovate to aggregate our shared values, knowledge and resources ...
... to drive collaborative models of enterprise, innovation and partnership, to be powerful in that context (or frankly just powerful)?
Phew! That was me catching up on Faith Liddell's contribution before the pre-lunch discussion session, and we're already into the afternoon session where we've heard a powerful provocation from @QMUL alumna Zamila Bunglawala who has invited us to reflect on the data collected ...
... by the UK government that tracks differentials in engagement with various kinds of activities and services - including the arts and museums - by people of different ethnicities across time. You'll find the data at ethnicity-facts-figures.service.gov.uk
Now Eliane Costa is inviting us to reflect on the powerful cultural production of "the periphery" in general, and of the favela communities of Rio de Janeiro in particular - citing examples of cultural self-production such as Mulher do Fim do Mundo, or the passinho movement ...
... begun by groups of young people inventing their own dance moves, who used local LAN houses (internet cafes) to upload their self-filmed footage and garnered millions of views within days, sparking a cultural movement.
The continued marginal status of these individuals in society - despite their massive popularity within the passinho circle - is darkly illustrated by the unsolved murder, in a suspected police shooting, of a leading passinho artist.
And quickly we're on to a new contribution from Nick Bryan-Kinns of the @QMUL Media Arts and Technology Lab, who has been working with rural Chinese communities to engage them in a design process across geographical distance and also bridging between rural and urban cultures.
The cultural traditions of the community the project worked with were distinct from the Chinese Han mainstream - so it was a minority culture - but there was a further generational divide within the community because most working age people had migrated within China for work.
It leaves a community mainly made up of elderly people - grandparents -and children.
In the short years of the project's life, the community has gone from being a three day journey from the nearest major city, to a half hour high speed train connection and a 4G network. It enables the project to learn very quickly about the transformative potential of technology.
mat.qmul.ac.uk/students_proje… Sometimes, though, the Lab works in projects where technology isn't a means of transmission - the product isn't available online - but an enhancing feature of a physical craft object.
These music boxes bring together elements that speak to both the age groups within the community - traditional music and craft, with new technology and interactivity.
Now another speedy handover from Nick Bryan-Kinns to Gary Stewart @dubmorphology who's an artist, curator and producer who describes his ongoing preoccupations as being around identity politics, democracy, culture, history and technology.
Gary describes the ways his viewpoint has been influenced by proximity to cultural historians and theorists including Stuart Hall, bell hooks and Paul Gilroy - and by his experiences from within the Arts Council.
He's always wanted to work with groups variously described as marginalized, peripheral, disenfranchised - and with technology, although this includes "low" or analogue technology just as much as digital tech.
Gary describes a traumatic family encounter with lethal violence and the way he processed this experience artistically into "Bitter Thickest Blood", reflecting on Black on Black peer violence that interviewed young people who had killed other young people, and families of victims
... police, policy makers - using proximity sensors that triggered a diversity of recorded voices so that the audience moving around the space was hearing a complex and ambiguous mix of views and contributions - and left their own responses to the piece. vimeo.com/9856224
Gary describes this multiplicity of perspectives and ambiguity as being a key characteristic of the work he makes. The next piece he's describing is from a telemedia collaboration with Station House Opera and a group in Gaza, Palestine.
Although Gary is no longer involved, "at home in Gaza and London" is being launched tomorrow at @battersea_arts Centre - athomeingazaandlondon.com
Now we're watching a project with a live connection between London & Cambodia which tracks the footsteps of an audience member onto a digitally projected mat in the other country. Gary describes his desire as an artist to create work that rewards the audience's exploratory play.
Gary says: There's nothing neat and tidy about the way I work. It might appear chaotic. But it's bred from a desire not to impose my own sensibility on the groups with which I work.
My projects are designed so that people can come in, create, author, experience and dialogue - says Gary to finish his segment.
Zamila draws together the three contributions by observing that all of the work we've been discussing has been about trying to create open spaces for people to participate and create, using technology - whether within cities, between generations or across continents.
@LibertadorCymru asks Zamila, How do you move from having the website that presents the data on ethnicity transparently, to shaping policy that addresses the issue that the data reveals?
Zamila responds: it's a big problem that policy is not data driven in this country. So we had to start with a website that simply brought together the data from a non political standpoint. Now that it's there (and 80% of the data is still to be added), policy is the next job.
@LibertadorCymru also asked the artists how their work connects with policy? Gary @dubmorphology gives an example of a project with PPP - peoplespalaceprojects.org.uk/en/projects/en… which brought video stories mixed and created by young people to policy fora including GLA, British Council ...
... and to a series of debates on cultural policy and social violence at Southbank Centre in 2010.
Eliane Costa responds to the question about structures for democratization of culture by pointing to Gilberto Gil's claiming of digital access within the policy arena of Culture. This was transformative - both in terms of enabling a national transformation in internet access ...
... and also in the way that it unlocked the means of production of digital culture itself and put it in the hands of a massive number of people in a democratic way. This enabled Brazil to position itself as a global leader in the arena of digital culture.
Linked to this was the very open framework that Brazil adopted with respect to digital civil rights and intellectual property (prioritising and incentivising the use of open-access technology, for example).
Tarek Virani @NetworkCentre asks Zamila what definition of "the arts" is used in the compilation of figures for (for example) "engagement with the arts"?
And Marta Porto asks about the idea of access, and how we define the values by which we measure access? Perhaps there are other ways that people access culture, that don't (for example) involve visiting museums and galleries?
And how do we engage with wider communities? Nick Bryan-Kinns takes this one: relationships are built on trust, and in the medium to long term.
Our next panel is Youth Voices: culture for social change. Segun Olaiya is in the chair: our speakers are Becka Hudson (nominated by @battersea_arts), Zain Dada (nominated by @bushtheatre) & Tobi Kyeremateng (nominated by @LTC_Theatres). They're going to throw us some fireworks.
Segun is introducing the session with a reminiscence of attending conferences where he would hear himself talked about - as a set of statistics - by people who didn't look like him, didn't sound like him, and who didn't seem to approach this discussion with care.
Far too often his experience has been about not having a voice in the room. He grew up in a home filled with culture, but a kind of culture that he knew was defined as "different". If you said "policy" to him, he would distrust you ...
... because usually people who are involved with policy don't let him speak in the room. Or if he is allowed to speak, and say it pure, then by the time that grassroots voice is re-represented at the top, it's been changed and stripped of its power.
So Segun opens the space for the Youth Voices panel to speak by asking the room to listen and to reflect on how they can reflect these voices in the way that they truly speak - without silencing them or translating their message into a more "acceptable" mode.
This is picking up on earlier discussions: rather than asking grassroots voices to change and adopt a more appropriate mode to participate in the policy conversation, we should be requiring the policy conversation to broaden its shape so that more voices are represented.
Becka Hudson remarks on the way that structurally, the conditions of being "young" - precarity of work, impossibility of having a home of your own - are being extended to longer and longer periods of people's lives, but official definitions ("young people"<25) aren't keeping up.
She was accepted onto the Young Producers programme at 27 - beyond the official "youth" category, but still affected by the financial and structural inequalities that are the typical experience of young people.
So, one way of enabling youth voices to participate and be heard is straighforwardly structural: provide travel and food money.
Becka became deeply involved with the Grime4Corbyn movement, one of the most powerful musical movements in the UK over recent years:
She observed a dual pull going on: the news media wanted to profile artists whose work would suit a narrative of "a 90 second argument on Channel 4 News" but music promoters would pull away immediately from any artist whose work was perceived as overtly political.
So as producers working with independent music artists, they're now working to try to create structures that can push back against that pigeonholing of artists. She asks: how can policy help in this?
Next, Becka talks about the aggressive silencing of youth voices within the drill scene - reporting that the Met has moved to ban one particular crew from making music videos at all without official consent, and to create legislation ...
... allowing them to secure convictions against artists without a single piece of evidence connecting their work with a specific crime or crime scene;
she draws an analogy with the heavily unequal impact of dispersal powers, which she tells us are ~52x more likely to define 3 Black youths hanging out on a street corner as a "gang" than to describe 3 white young men in the same terms.
She shares her unease about the way that Police powers are being used to define hugely popular youth cultures as "criminal" rather than the state looking for ways to engage with the energy of this movement and harness its capacity for social transformation.
Now Zain Dada brings his perspective - reflecting on the journey that brought him to the point where he was being regularly paid for work in the arts sector.
Young people "on the margins" are producing a huge amount of creative work, but in an unpaid model: in some ways, the official statistics showing the lack of engagement between the funded arts infrastructure and these young people reflect a failure of the arts sector.
As Becka has said, addressing this requires arts organisations to address barriers to young artists' engagement that include lack of housing as well as lack of secure pay for their work.
Zain recommends Hisham Aidi's 2014 book "Rebel Music" as a great read for an insight into this area which has deeply influenced his own perspective. penguinrandomhouse.com/books/1199/reb…
Zain also reflects on what's going on in London that affects the ways young people engage with culture. Where are the spaces they can do this? His school curriculum gave him Geoffrey Chaucer. In his local library, free and open to all, he found Benjamin Zephaniah.
That library is now the @bushtheatre where Zain found work. But others have been converted into private buildings, private schools. Where are the spaces for the next generation of young people to discover, participate in and share culture?
His next reflection is about the structural inequalities that lead to young unsalaried people being asked to come in as consultants - paid London Living Wage, if at all, and asked to "give us all your ideas" while a salaried professional who doesn't look like you writes notes
Zain is trying to create and hold a space for these ideas, where they don't get appropriated by someone else, through Khidr Collective Zine khidrcollective.bigcartel.com/product/khidr-…
Like GalDem, Khidr Collective has with very little resource created its own space in which a subculture now flourishes. So, if this is possible, what could and should funded arts organisations be doing to support this kind of activity?
Spaces like Granville Community Kitchen (which was under threat of redevelopment) are crucial to this kind of work. Zadie Smith recognised her responsibility, as someone who now has privilege within the arts sector, to come back and give a reading to raise money and profile ...
... which has now resulted in a 5 year lease for this important space.
Now Tobi Kyeremateng takes the baton from Zain and Becka to talk about her work with Up Next / Artistic Directors of the Future at @battersea_arts and @bushtheatre: adofthefuture.com/upnext.php
She wants to talk today about something that goes beyond having a space in a building: leadership, and preparing for leadership.
The conversations have reflected deeply on what the AD's of the future want to change, structurally, in the industry, in order for them to thrive as future leaders. Tobi says, things are not currently set up for people like me to thrive.
Her research suggests that as of this year, Kwame Kwei-Armah may be the only Black British artistic director of a building in the Western Hemisphere. So is her own leadership ambition actually achievable? Who does the current infrastructure permit to be successful?
(to be clear: a theatre building).
So Tobi has two reflections going on: What needs to change in the current infrastructure for her to get there? and What does she need to change in order to get there?
There are a number of internship or apprenticeship programmes that aim to be routes in to develop the leaders of the future. But where is the next step in the trajectory? No-one seems to have defined when "the future" starts.
This is where the policy conversation needs to be focusing now: what is the succession plan for the artistic directors and the policy teams, that will go beyond "musical chairs" ie people hopping seats within the industry, and create real opportunities for new leaders to move in?
It's not as though these new leaders aren't making work while they wait. They're making work in different, informal, unrecognised structures outside of the formal/funded arts establishment - but this leads to their qualifications and experience also going unrecognised.
Up Next asked her: What institution would you like to run? For Tobi, her personal response was: None of them. Because I don't want to inherit an institution that's structured in a way that doesn't allow me to thrive.
Tobi notes the "Obama moment" alongside Kwame Kwei-Armah's appointment - Whoa! she says. This is one dude! We can't look for this moment to result in the complete transformation of the sector.
And we have to be thoughtful about whether a new leader is stepping in to a set of structures that haven't themselves changed - or whether there is someone on the inside, already working for change, so that the person outside doesn't have to spend years chipping away with a fork.
Tobi talks very openly about the ways that her educational experience laid a pattern for later status relationships - being taught by almost exclusively white teachers meant that when she first stepped into an arts building as a member of a mainly white staff ...
... she instinctively felt like a student, not a colleague. The openness and vulnerability of @davidjubb's leadership style was a big enabling factor in overcoming this.
So in conclusion, Tobi's challenge is to all of us to imagine not only pathways that enable individual leadership, and next steps beyond entry routes into the industry, but also fundamental structural changes that make room for a new and broader range of voices as leaders.
In response to the day, Maddy Costa says she has been thinking about the notion of transferability. When we live in particular conditions, we find it very hard to imagine anything else. Theatre is a tool for opening our imaginations.
Part of the work of art is to support that imaginative act, of understanding the conditions of people's lives. Maddy traces a shift during the day, from speaking in more or less abstract terms to speaking in more or less personal terms.
Perhaps at the abstract level we are more likely to accept the language that surrounds us? It seems to be easier to issue that challenge, and take a stand, at the personal level, ie when we're able to draw on our own experience and story.
And are we asking for more voices to be given space within the mainstream? Or that the mainstream should shift its ground?
There's a huge amount of inertia at play in the arts sector, and we really need a shift which involves people actually giving away power in order for change to happen.
Leadership structures, government thinking, inclines towards neatness - well illustrated by the contrast between the "incredibly tidy" government website of ethnicity data which still leaves so much of the picture out, and the "creative messiness" of Gary's presentation.
As a writer of case studies for the @CGF_UK 's Inquiry into the Civic Role of the Arts, Maddy spends a lot of time in the space between the "measurable" and the qualitative, which we've been discussing a lot today.
Maddy hands over to Victoria Adukwei Bulley who is reflecting on the complexity of personal responses to opportunity and to the sense of "deserving" opportunities.
Victoria's response/reflection on the day is a poem.
There's no way to capture her reflections via tweet - other than linking to her poem itself - but we hope to publish that in its entirety in the Symposium proceedings.
Closing contributions include Marta Porto calling for a renewed policy recognition of the relationship between the arts and citizenship; @merisesher accepts her responsibility to speak to the way that calls for sharing of power have been made, evidenced, budgeted and rejected ...
... not just once, but again and again. Her abiding reflection today is "STILL?" as she gives us an insight into the weight of guilt that those who have tried to make change, without success, bear.
Segun, too, shares with us the emotion and sense of responsibility he felt at being given a place at Central School of Speech and Drama: and his anger at having done all the things he was told (you can't do this work till you get this qualification) and then be shut out anyway.
Gary @dubmorphology asked the Youth Voices panel what change they see in those coming up behind them? In his response, Zain speaks to how powerful it is simply to be able to see a person of colour leading the building you work in. It's permission - Yes, you can be a producer.
He speaks back to Tobi's desire not to inherit an organisation but to build her own building, structured in a way that reflects and supports people like her. This is the energy he sees - young people inventing their own work and structures. Segun agrees.
And the room asks: so, what does government/policy need to do in order not to become increasingly irrelevant to this work which is inventing its own structures and spaces for existtence, because it can't and won't die for lack of breath?
We close with a commitment from British Council @CulturalSkills, co-producers and funders of today's Symposium alongside @PeoplesPalaceUK and @NetworkCentre @QMULsed, to represent these voices back to decisionmakers with renewed passion and urgency.
And that's us done for the day. Thanks to all of our speakers and participants for leaning in with such vigour and clarity on a powerful set of discussions. This is going to be a corking one to write up - and we look forward to tracing the impacts of today's conversations.
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