As part of my presentation I called upon artists and the arts world to step up to the challenge of engaging more strongly in civic society, very much as Vikki Heywood quoted in Matthew Taylor’s Blog did in Oct 2013, when she said:
‘Instead of arts and heritage funding being part of the problem of austerity, cultural organisations can be part of honing new solutions’.
I believe it’s important to shift society’s idea of the artist towards being seen as having value and about our competencies and abilities meaning that we can make positive contributions to the society we live in.
In a similar vein to this Alistair Hudson spoke about how following the economic crisis in 2008, Grizedale Arts changed its approach to hosting residencies with international contemporary artists – so that the artists’ brief is now to do/make something useful for the local people. They’re are prioritising the utilitarian, harking back to John Ruskin’s original ideas around ‘art for social purpose’ and focussing on co-production with people in the local community.
One of the projects Alistair described is the Honesty Shop which has been developed, so that local people can sell their crafts and produce, and buyers leave cash, as there are no shop-assistants. It’s currently highly successful and generates a substantial income for locals (who receive 80% of the profit).
Image credit: Grizedale Arts