I remember…

There have been lots more going on around the Newcastle situation talked about in my last post, as I’m sure you’ll be aware. I will admit to rather misplacing my blogging-mojo after that post, even though more people read it than anything else I’ve written this year. I also had lots of other stuff to do, and a family bereavement, so what follows was (nearly all) written and then never got posted. Here it is. I’ll return to the Toon in the New Year I think. Suffice to say: ‘a luta continua’.

I’ve been busy recently writing recently for some other places. Axis asked me to look back to mark their 21st birthday. So I did, thinking back to my first days working professionally in the arts. As this coincided with Arts Council England publishing more details – I’d say details but well, the info isn’t that detailed – about how they will meet the government’s demands for 50% reduction in admin costs, I also shared a slightly nightmarish vision I’d had of the future. My worry – alongside a concern for the individuals affected by the cuts, especially my old friends in the North East office – is that this accelerates the loss of diversity in the funding ecology, just when we need more. I also draw on my previous career in catering. You can read the piece here.

I’ve also commented on the ACE review for a-n news. I draw attention here to the dog that doesn’t bark in the information put out by ACE so far: decision-making and governance. This was a major bone of contention [enough with the canine puns – Ed] when ACE took over the regional arts boards, but seems to be something unmentioned and to be sorted out in private, which is not really good enough, for me. ACE did tell me on Twitter that a review of non-executive governance has been commissioned from David Norgrove whose findings will be considered in the next 6 months. There was no information about this on ACE’s website, bar a reference in some heavily redacted minutes from the May National Council meeting, which you may, should you wish, use as the basis for a writing exercise, until I pointed this out to them. Which I find, er, interesting. You can read about (briefly) here.

You can also, more seasonally, see here what I (and other people) suggested to a-n readers they ought to buy for Xmas. (My New Year’s Resolution is to stop being sarcy about visual artists by the way, no need to suggest that.)

Finally, the good folk of Arts Queensland asked me to reflect on my sense of the adaptive resilience of the arts sector I saw when I was there, for their voluminous and rich blog. You can read my conclusionshere