Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Last words on the IFACCA World Summit, for now

I’ve had a very hectic time of it for the last fortnight, which is why it’s been quite on here. I had one or two more things I wanted to say about the IFACCA World Summit, but have decided it’s best to do them as a kind of montage of the last day or so, before they go completely cold in my notebook. I will return at another time to the themes of translation as a kind of dialogue relating to diversity, and to the interface between tradition and innovation, I hope you'll find here.

So, imagine some atmospheric background music, and plunge in to the following paragraph. (I did try and render it in SA colours but it lost some legibility.) Then work out what the applications might be for you. (Speakers listed at the bottom, not exact quotes – all clumsiness mine.)

The crossroads of identity I don’t want to be part of any club that will have me as a member Watching speakers rush through too many slides makes me feel so tense, especially white text on a white background An open political space is a pre-requisite for proper creativity Intercultural dialogue is not about the connection of two fixed points Does intercultural dialogue actually lead to the erosion of identity? Eric Clapton’s guitar style as an example of hybridity I am interested in shattering morals We were connected to our mother cultures but felt like orphans Give up on authenticity…culture is a necessary fiction Use the moment of perfection in a traditional form to inform contemporary forms of art The intercultural moment is also in time/history: between old and new, now and past There is no interculturality without translation, even within a single language A photograph of BALTIC in a presentation on microfinance?! Should we have a World Art Day? We had been good at doing the impossible but not so good at the ordinary

You can now see and read more of the presentations on the Summit site. Many thanks to Sarah Gardner and her team at IFACCA, to Annabell Lebethe and her team at the National Arts Council of South Africa and to programme director Mike van Graan for a great time in Jo'burg.


Quotes from (in order) Frank Panucci, Groucho Marx quoted by Frank Panucci, me, Joy Mboya x4 , T Sasitharan x6, Arturo Navaro with my exclamation and questions marks, Sanjoy Roy, Albie Sachs

1 comment:

tellycom said...

As an artist who has worked in the North East for twenty years with a range of highest quality performing arts organisations including Live Theatre and Northern Stage and high profile visiting organisations (BBC Radio 3 and the RSC in the last two weeks), I have a heartfelt interest in ensuring the healthy future of the arts in the region. My second career as a writer (7 plays for BBC Radio 4, four published short stories and a novel in progress) isn't necessarily dependent on living here, but a Northern Promise Award for the start of my novel in 2006 brought me to the attention of London literary agents and I now have representation. The North East has an impressive literary track record which continues to grow.

I have always felt proud to be living somewhere with such a healthy attitude to not only the arts themselves but to arts involvement - Live Theatre's youth theatres and The Sage Gateshead's outreach work being particularly exemplary. I have worked on the inside of both of these endeavours and found the dedication of the arts-workers to the empowerment, talent and confidence of young people outstanding. I have also been proud to see how impressed my current colleagues in the RSC have been with the Newcastle Gateshead array of cultural output and edifice.

However, my deep seated faith in what underpins the motivations of regional cultural leadership and the relationship of that to what the arts are fundamentally about, has been seriously shaken of late. As an ex-Director of ten years standing of a leading visual arts organisation, I was directly lied to by a fellow Director over an issue of governance. I discovered the truth of this in the last fortnight.

For region's arts sector to survive greater public accountability (in every sense of the word)I believe it needs to seriously examine what actually constitutes 'cultural leadership'.

If deception over a serious (and ongoing) matter of governance can go unchallenged then public suspicion of a two tier corrupted morality might not be far away. Can the arts sector afford this kind of suspicion?

As someone with great knowledge and experience of three different art forms, I believed my expertise to be of use to the board in question. I believed that with my position came a responsibility to act honourably and truthfully. I am therefore deeply shaken to have found that at least one fellow Director had a different set of moral guidelines.

I am now very confused about cultural leadership actually means. Is mendacity between colleagues over governance issues acceptable at this level? Am I being naive about what leadership in the arts should mean?