We believe it is in the nature of the arts to hold up a critical mirror to society, and to break down barriers between its different groups. But is our sector fully reflective of the communities we live in?  

This debate is about the urgency to open up the arts to all of society - to all the classes, ethnicities, physical abilities, and backgrounds that constitute it.



Arts Council England’s Head of Diversity, Abid Hussain explains some of the organisation’s recent initiatives to improve the diversity and accessibility of the UK’s arts sector. This includes: flagship disability commissioning programme, Unlimited; diversity strategic funding through its Elevate and Change Makers programmes; a big drive to capture diversity data and hold publicly funded organisations to account with it; and, adding budget categories for access for both artists and audiences into its funding application process.
Whilst stressing this potential for positive change, it is necessary to recall that processes related to the arrival of refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants can involve instances of fear, friction and isolation, affecting both the host communities and the newly arrived. Cultural participation and interaction can play an important role in alleviating this, but, above all, holistic and transversal policy approaches, involving public authorities and civil society and being sensitive to the needs of all, should be promoted.
In Bookends, two writers take on questions about the world of books. This week, Adam Kirsch and Liesl Schillinger discuss the art yielded by populist and elite mind-sets.
Certaines cultures sont-elles supérieures à d'autres ? Il existe deux façons de répondre à cette question. La première est théorique : il ne peut y avoir de supériorité d'une culture sur une autre, car elles sont toutes des expressions authentiques d'une même humanité ; elles sont toutes des variations sur un thème commun qui est la culture humaine, c'est-à-dire cette faculté universelle et spécifique qu'a l'homme de penser la nature pour pouvoir agir sur elle afin d'organiser sa vie sociale.
Il y a trente ans, La Distinction de Pierre Bourdieu a posé les bases d’une réintégration des éléments culturels dans la réflexion sur le capital. Cette thèse reste-t-elle valide aujourd’hui ? Philippe Coulangeon évoque les métamorphoses de la distinction dans un monde marqué par les inégalités de patrimoine et les mutations de la légitimité culturelle.
Nell’affrontare la questione della classe in relazione al mondo dell’arte contemporanea due domande vengono in primo piano: Fino a che punto le figure professionali all’interno del mondo dell’arte sono interessate a problematiche relative alla classe sociale di provenienza, alla diseguaglianza, al consumismo, al sessismo e al razzismo? Come risponde l’apparato concettuale dell’arte contemporanea al progressivo e diffuso deterioramento delle condizioni sociali ed economiche?
Médaille d’argent du CNRS en 2012, Bernard Lahire n’est pas pour autant un sociologue consensuel, et ne cher- che surtout pas à l’être. Dans une discipline qui a toujours eu tendance à assimiler le social au collectif, son effort pour produire une « sociologie des individus » ne laisse pas indifférent. Certains collègues ont pu lui reprocher d’effacer le rôle des classes. Il s’en défend ardemment.
We develop and test the idea that public appreciation for authentic lowbrow culture affords an effective way for certain elites to address feelings of authenticity-insecurity arising from “high status denigration” (Hahl and Zuckerman 2014). This argument, which builds on recent sociological research on the “search for authenticity” (e.g., Grazian 2005) and on Bourdieu’s (1993) notion of artistic “disinterestedness,” is validated through experiments with U.S. subjects in the context of “outsider” art (Fine 2004).
The manual has been compiled in the context of the international project Un-Label. The wide variety of contributions from different perspectives present a comprehensive overview of the two-year model programme.
Contact has avoided having to ask whether its work is diverse enough by putting diversity at the root of decision-making. Matt Fenton and Reece Williams share Contact’s story.


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