At a time when creativity, teamwork, adaptability, critical thinking, communication and innovation have been recognised by educators, employers and government as fundamental building blocks for success in society and the workplace in the 21st century, England’s education policy is poised to permit only the brightest and wealthiest to access the creative subjects that will enable them to thrive in this brave new world.
“The move towards a compulsory EBacc is likely to deepen the divide in the take-up of arts subjects between more affluent and higher achieving students and those facing more disadvantages. The Cambridge figures also reveal that drama, music, fine art and dance GCSEs are all taken up by fewer pupils from deprived areas and fewer lower attainers than others. Art and design is the only arts subject that bucks this trend.”
Tourists have always taken photographs. Like graffiti, it’s a very human way of saying “I was here”. But in the pre-digital age, because of the expense of film as well as high shooting ratios, you were lucky if you ended up with one usable picture. Now “influencers” can take as many photographs as they need, photoshopping and filtering until they are able to post the perfect advertisement (for that indeed is what these images are). The centering of the self to such an extent is new too, and at the expense of knowledge, exploration and adventure.
As one male character in Gossip Girl sais in a wedding toast, “In the face of true love you don’t just give up, even if the object of your affection is begging you to.” Julie Beck lays out some of the owrrying examples, from “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” to “Blurred Lines” and from Say Anything to Twilight to Grey’s Anatomy.
“It’s hard to control a cough or a cranky kid’s wails. Tough to tame the artistic ambitions of bats or squirrels. And sometimes, I guess the rain gods want in on the festivities too. But most philosophers and legal scholars would agree that even the most strung-out phone addicts possess free will. Force majeure has nothing to do with Facebook.”
Since punk began as a rebellion against boredom, the dead space of commercial music production and the empty hedonism born of the hippie era’s “great sexual revolution”, it was only a matter of time until it, too, would become corrupted. A yearning for its own prelapsarian state was built into punk’s ethos.
“Advances in word recognition and comprehension can only make AI better at handling those kinds of requests. Machines that can better understand our questions will give us better answers. That could mean a doctor getting more accurate and actionable information with which to base a diagnosis, or a teacher more clearly representing a concept to a student.”
After asking the 10- and 11-year-olds in her French class to make a picture book with their new sentences and having them tell her that none of them could draw at all (they’d never had an art class in their young lives), The Guardian‘s Secret Teacher argues that it’s not just that arts education increases test scores in other subjects …
The report predicts changes in employment and growth for key sectors of the economy across five scenarios, which model for whether the UK remains in the single market, in the customs union, secures a transition deal, or achieves a preferable trade agreement with the EU. “In total, creative industries across the country stand to lose up to £3.3bn and 27,000 jobs as a result of a no-deal hard Brexit,” a spokesperson for the Mayor said.
Want a sense of how much pop culture has changed in the past year? Look at culture from even five or ten years ago that now suddenly seems inappropriate. “Such moments of not-okay-anymore recognition might throw the new era into starkest relief. And squabbles over what was and wasn’t acceptable — plus the accompanying self-righteousness of all parties, whether styling themselves unimpeachably correct or bravely defiant — were surely the most exhausting feature of the last year in pop culture. To dismiss wokeness as the handiwork of P.C. thought police, though, would be to ignore its reality: an altered pop-culture ecosystem, a Great Awokening in full bloom.”
Photographers Bruce Weber (Calvin Klein, Abercrombie & Fitch) and Mario Testino (the British royal family, Vogue) are accused by numerous models of coercive sexual touch and much more. “Those who said they were on the receiving end of unwanted attention felt the choice was clear: acquiesce and be rewarded with lucrative ad campaign work, or reject the approach and risk hobbling, or destroying, a career. Many said they still would not speak publicly.”
Some of the seats are owned by private people, who can resell them for a profit. And those seatholders? Make up the majority of the council that runs the charity that runs the hall. Now, “A row over the governance of the Royal Albert Hall will be referred to tribunal, it has been confirmed, after the venue was reported to the UK’s top law officer.”
The central question raised in this report is: “Are organizations bringing in enough revenue to cover their expenses?” Looking at unrestricted surplus (before depreciation), the average organization saw an unrestricted surplus of 2.1% of expenses in 2016. In the same year, overall operating bottom line (before depreciation) was 0.4% of expenses—virtually break-even. However, surpluses fell to a negative 4.2% when factoring in depreciation, meaning that the average organization is not reserving sufficient funds to repair and replace their fixed assets, which can lead to future challenges, particularly for organizations with high levels of fixed assets.
Charles McNulty: “Directors who have taken advantage of the casting couch, actors who have grotesquely exploited their stardom, conductors who have preyed on their young charges deserve to have the rug pulled out from under them. If the work they’ve done lives on, it will do so apart from the memory of their shameful deeds. This will take time. … But like many who feel a pang of obligation to due process, I can’t help wondering if in the collective rush to right historical wrongs we aren’t in danger of losing sight of other values. Justice, as symbolized by the scales, is an art of delicate calibration. But watershed movements aren’t subtle. They can’t afford to be.”
Despite the surge in peer-to-peer recommendation via social media, research by the National Theatre demonstrates that reviews by paid critics are still a key driver of ticket sales. If each network review persuaded its readers to buy as few as five £20 tickets for that show between them, an additional £75,000 would flow into theatre’s economy and the scheme would pay for itself.
“For decades, the U.S. has been the No. 1 destination for international students seeking a foreign college or graduate school education. The U.K. has been second. But in recent years, China has suddenly appeared in the No. 3 slot, and Allan Goodman, president of the Institute of International Education, tells Axios that it is on track to overtake the U.K. and capture No. 2 this year.”
Here’s the heart of the problem: The set of critics’ and audiences’ interests do not perfectly overlap but rather form a Venn diagram. In the audience circle, the pressing question is, “Should I spend some number of the dollars I have to my name and the hours I have left on Earth on this thing?” Critics get in for free and by definition have to read or watch or listen to whatever’s next up. So their circle is filled with relativistic questions about craft and originality and wallet quality and the often unhelpfully general “Is it good?” (Some of them even have an idea of what they mean by “good”; the rest are winging it.)
New data from the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers, and Action Fraud – which reports on fraud and cyber crime for the police – shows that the total recorded losses between May and October 2017 came to £1.66 million. This is made up of 3,973 individual reported incidences of ticket fraud – when tickets are purchased but don’t arrive, or turn out to be fake. This is an increase from the 2,885 reports recorded over the same period in 2015.
“It’s worth nothing just how viscerally vicious the Republicans wanted to be towards artists and the creative professions as the Congressional legislative process, such as it was, began. Earlier drafts of the tax bill attempted to discard the “qualified performing artist” deduction for low-income entertainment industry workers. There was an amendment aiming to eliminate low-income housing credit exemptions that are to lure artists into new cities through affordable housing. There was an attempt to treat tuition wavers as taxable income, something that would have disproportionately affected artists who enroll in MFA programs. While none of these items made it in the final version of the tax bill, it demonstrates frothing Republican hostility to anyone in any creative profession anywhere in America.”
“When museums are free we can see one painting every day on our lunch breaks. We can come back again and again to see all of the things we’d miss in just one visit. We can go on cheap dates. We can take our children and not worry about wasting our vacation budget if they throw a tantrum after 10 minutes. Students can come on school trips and learn not just about art or history or science, but also about experiences and institutions – museums themselves – that might otherwise feel closed off to them.”
“The newly opened Weltmuseum in Vienna has come under fire for displaying a severed head from Brazil – a war trophy that had belonged to the Munduruku people. … The discussion in Germany and Austria follows similar debates in France and the UK over the past 15 years, sparked by a rise in the number of demands for the return of human remains to their communities of origin, usually non-European and often former colonies.”
Open discourse is becoming a radical act as technologies designed to create a new digital commons are daily molded into megaphones for the most powerful and regressive voices. If artists are to maintain a vital voice in public discourse they need to engage with important social narratives through open-ended dialogues and public engagement.
A few years ago we launched a simple, yet transformative project asking our nonprofit arts organizations to become polling places. This opened up their relationship with their local community and provides a way to have a non-transactional relationship with their neighbors. It also shows that we are community members who care about the local legislation and policies that affect our lives as individuals and as organizations that serve our neighbors. In many cases it also is an opportunity to expand the audience of who these organizations are reaching. The primary goal is to expand the definition of who the organization is and how do they fit into “more art everywhere”.
A lot. “Last week, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office announced that it was reviewing five investigations into accusations of sexual misconduct against filmmaker James Toback.” That’s a lot to investigate – but the LA Times has heard from 395 women and corroborated almost all of their stories.
Mónica Ramírez, who fights for farmworker rights and who accompanied Laura Dern to the ceremony: “‘Farmworker women pick and plant the food that we eat and have a long history of combating sexual violence,’ said Ms. Ramírez, who fights sexual violence against farmworkers and pushes for Latina empowerment. Of the women working in Hollywood, she said, ‘We stand with them and we lend them our power and strength. Part of our work as an organization is to fight for gender equality across all lines.'”