What’s the value of culture today? An important question in the current climate of 100% financial cuts to Newcastle City Councils Arts & Culture budget (2 million), brought to light in Melvyn Bragg’s introduction as part of the current series on Radio 4, The Value of Culture.
Due to be broadcast Friday 5th January, the recording took place at Newcastle’s Lit & Phil, in front of a live audience. The panel, chaired by Melvyn Bragg, consisted of Biologist Mat Ridley, ex-chair of the Arts Council England Christopher Frayling and Dr Tiffany Jenkins, a Sociologist and Cultural Commentator. The debate and discussion explored a huge range of subjects including cultural evolution, High Art and culture with a capital ‘C’, but what really inspired me was a quick chat with Christopher Frayling and Tiffany Jenkins about the savage cuts currently being proposed by the city council. I asked them both what their perception was (from the outside) of the proposed cuts and how the arts community in the North East could fight back against the councils decision. Christopher in particularly was shocked by the decision, to the point of incomprehension, his suggested ideas for getting support was to look outside the arts community – which makes sense! Get support from Industrialists, engineers, high profile figures who would have some kind of impact.
Lee Hall, an out spoken critic on the councils budget decision against library closures is speaking at a meeting planned 9th January, Assembly Rooms, Fenkle Street 7pm. Come along, make a stand and if you have any high profile figures as friends, bring them along to!