As December was a busy month with the Highlight launch and a nice break over Christmas, I’ve unintentionally skipped a month of my news round up! As always, there’s never a quiet month of cultural news (or any news for that matter), so I’m sure you still managed to keep updated.
Moving on to January, it’s been a storm of a month for political news. But alas, that’s not what I’m here to discuss (and probably shouldn’t for the sake of my word count). The cultural news that’s been on my radar has been mostly positive, minus the omnipresent new of arts funding cuts (but again, I won’t delve in that direction today for the sake of word count!).
To get the ball rolling, here’s something slightly gloomy to begin:
There’s been a lot of debate around dropping arts subjects from the curriculum but to me this idea seems illogical and pretty absurd. The arts form such an important part of social development and creativity, not to mention preparing young people for potential careers in one the UK’s fastest growing sectors. Recently the Art History A-Level was dropped, being described as a “soft” subject. But personally, I wouldn’t describe the £1billion that UK museums and galleries put into the economy, the 40 million visitors that our top 10 cultural organisations attract or any of these other statistics as “soft”.
It’s refreshing to see icons within the industry stepping to the defense of arts education, as well as politicians and policy makers.
An interesting month for cultural leadership in London
Next, it was announced that ex-Labour politician Tristram Hunt would be the new Director of the V&A. Initially, I thought it was a strange choice as previous Director Martin Roth had a wealth of experience specific to museums but when reading of his work history…
“…fellow of the Royal Historical Society, a founder of the Stoke-on-Trent Literary Festival and a Patron of the British Ceramics Biennial… previously a Trustee of both the Heritage Lottery Fund and the National Heritage Memorial Fund, and a Curator of the Mayor of London’s History Festival.”
…he seems more than qualified to fill the role and I’m excited to see what new directions he takes the museum with his political background.
The Tate has also announced their new Director, Maria Balshaw. Balshaw is the “hugely respected leader of Manchester’s galleries and a driving force in the city’s cultural renaissance”. She also played a huge factor in the development of plans for The Factory, the £110m Manchester arts venue proposed on the former site of Granada’s TV studios. For the recent news on this exciting project click here.
Finally, in more local news Salisbury Playhouse has been awarded a £30,000 grant from the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation to fund their military outreach project. Plans for the project sound really exciting and huge congratulations to the Playhouse!
(Photo of Maria Balshaw from Guardian article linked above.)