The Evil Imp

No More Spreadsheets

Two weeks ago Arts Council England contacted us via Twitter to ask if we would like to write a “blog post” for them. To be honest it did take a while for that request to get past our “WTF” filter.

The Big Bad was asking TheLab™ to write something that they would publish with our name on it. So, write the piece we did, it was short, to the point and didn’t mention statistics at all.

We can only imagine that’s the reason we haven’t heard back from the funding monolith since we emailed it to them. Article19 was very clear that they were not allowed to edit the piece, they could either use it or not so we figure they decided to “not”.

Of course Article19 doesn’t need anybody else to publish things for us, we have our very own platform right here.

Funding Culture Good

Arts funding is a discussion or, more often than not, an argument that never seems to end. Article19 considers it to be nothing short of a national disgrace that in the 21st century, national governments and local councils are closing down libraries and choking funding to culture organisations and artists.

So allow us to explain why funding the arts is a good idea from just one perspective.

Funding the arts is about the kid who goes to the workshop and experiences something new. Learns to work with and understand others, breaks down the barriers of social and physical isolation and makes new friends. It’s about that kid learning to listen, learning to express him or herself in a way that’s positive and meaningful, it’s about that kid learning to understand things that cannot be seen.

It’s about feeding and broadening the minds of young people not because society needs them to become artists but because society needs them to be well rounded, open minded, creative individuals who see nothing but solutions to whatever problems they may face.

To deliver those workshops we need professional artists fed by the experiences of their training, their employment, their performances and their own creative work. Those artists work in this country, throughout Europe and all over the world and bring those experiences back home to share with others.

Funding the arts is not about the big projects that make it into the media. Funding the arts is about the hundreds of thousands of positive, individual experiences that cannot be measured, recorded or quantified.

The return on that funding is worth more than any spreadsheet can measure, so you should probably stop trying to measure that return with spreadsheets.

So there you have it, talking about arts funding without using any numbers at all.