Thursday, July 07, 2005

Fun with the funders

Visiting Arts threw a party on Tuesday night to mark Terry Sandell's departure as director: he's off to the Ukraine as Director of the British Council there. As a result the party, on a Thames boat, was Ukrainian themed: vodka on arrival, fatty sausages with black bread and horseradish, Pavlo Hunka and a choir of Cossacks singing. Terry's departure coincides with the end of Visiting Arts' restructuring programme: and I'm encouraged to see the work "collaborations" very clearly present in their new mission statements. Until now, they've tended to say that their money is only really for presentation of ready-made foreign productions: we've managed to persuade them to make exceptions in the past, but now it looks as if these exceptions are becoming policy.

Wednesday afternoon at the Arts Council, where I have a very encouraging meeting with Denise Jones. Quite unusual for an Arts Council officer to describe a planned project as "very exciting". On the other hand, we've just heard the result of the Olympic bid, and the announcement of the new Lottery game aimed solely at Olympic funding. The fear is that this will eat up all the Lottery funds, and anything else in the DCMS budget, right through to 2012. The Arts Council suffered a budget cut this year, and project-funded companies like ours were the victims. Together with the way in which the government is subtly diverting Lottery funds away from "good causes" like the arts towards things which should be funded from the Treasury (like the NHS), this doesn't bode well. Jude Kelly is on the radio at lunchtime, saying that the Olympics will be great for the theatre because we'll have a world cultural festival. But we have to survive until 2012 in order to be part of it....

1 comment:

Paul Shaw said...

I think I heard Jude saying that the cultural festival is going to start with Liverpool being European City of Culture......is that in 2008?
So you only need to wait a couple of years and move to Liverpool.

Am I the first commenter on the Border Crossings Blog?