The Tuesday Rant: how the arts sector is being shafted by parts of the public sector who should know better.

Dear local authority,

It has come to our attention that you are increasingly awarding tenders for arts projects to universities whose turnover is a zillion times higher than the value of that tender.

Do you not realise that you are undermining the sector you claim to represent?

Dear university, why do you insist on putting students on public projects which effectively takes the bread out of local artists mouths? Do you not realise you are shooting the local arts economy in the head every time you place an unqualified graduate into an arts project?  Would you accept student doctors diagnosing your children’s health if they’d done just one year in medical school?

Dear local authority, why are you complicit with this act under the guise of getting ‘value of for money?’ Old mill owners got value for money by exploiting their workers to within an inch of their lives.  Why are you contributing to this outdated industrial practice? And more importantly, why are you allowed to keep getting away with it?

Maybe you’ll appreciate our case once all your arts workers have lost their jobs because of your funding cuts and come back to the sector to look for work… Only to find there is a skeleton of a sector left because it’s been shafted by universities who place unqualified students on projects which should be run by qualified local professionals. And offer access to their so called ‘premium spaces’ in order to claw back some of the massive capital deficit they’ve built up in ‘investing’ in the local economy. 

Dear local authority, dear university, please don’t coming looking to the sector to dig you out of a cultural desert in a few years time. The responsibility for that emptiness will be yours and the students who have long flown the city.

Author: drnicko

Awarded an MBE for services to arts-based businesses, I am passionate about generating inspiring, socially engaging, creative practice within educational contexts both nationally and internationally.

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