The Intrinsic Value of Culture [added 5/8/03
Amidst more general rumblings that the tick box culture of targets and excessive measurement of outputs is not per se productive, the arts community met in June to discuss the premise that too much emphasis has been placed on funding the arts as an instrument of economic and social policy, rather than for primarily cultural reasons.
Key figures in the arts gathered for this Demos led conference to ask how we might discuss culture in its own terms and "open up a debate about ways in which cultural and artistic values can be better projected alongside social and economic ones." Led by Charles Saumerez Smith, Director of the National Gallery and Nicholas Hytner, Director of the National Theatre, contributors included: Tessa Jowell, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport; Chris Smith, Director of the Clore Leadership Programme; Lord Stevenson, Chairman of Pearson plc and HBOS plc; Sara Selwood, editor of Cultural Trends; Robert Hewison, cultural critic and author of Culture and Consensus and Deborah Bestwick Director, Oval House Theatre.
There was much talk about the break down in trust and sheer weight of monitoring, data gathering and target setting. The creating of public value was set alongside monetary value, as the measurement of efficiency, for which there needed to be a new language and a new accountability. Tessa Jowell welcomed the debate as 'high risk', reflective and long term, but one which needed articulating with confidence in order to place culture at "the heart of all we do" and most of all needed articulating as part of the broader political discourse and on behalf of other areas of public policy.
For further information and to read the essay by Adrian Ellis, Valuing Culture, which formed the basis of the debate, go to the Demos website. papers from the conference now avaliable, go to , click here