Value of Arts

Today's world is obsessed with measuring the impact of every field of public (subsidised) activity. Does your project entail spending public money? Then be prepared to justify its value with numbers and facts.

While numerous studies reveal the power of culture in driving economic growth and creating jobs, it is difficult to quantify the intangible impacts of arts.

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As Beirut gets ready to host IETM's first Satellite meeting on Freedom of Expression in the South-Mediterranean region, Lebanese writer and advocate Mona Merhi writes about the history of censorship in Lebanon and its current state of play, paving the way for a deeper reflection on artistic freedoms in the Arab region and beyond. This is the first post in the Campaign for Freedom of Expression series.—Geoliane Arab.
"Театр сегодня оказался в привилегированном положении — ни одно другое искусство не обладает одновременно таким арсеналом неопосредованных контактов со зрителем. Именно театру доступны диалог с ним, влияние на него, сближение с ним. Сегодня это один из самых актуальных коммуникативных инструментов."
En se concentrant sur l'économie, la construction européenne a créé des liens commerciaux, monétaires et institutionnels. Mais elle n'est jamais parvenue à faire naître une identité européenne à laquelle les citoyens puissent se référer.
picture: Leon Wieseltier
"The more we educate ourselves by means of the arts, and expose our citizens and our children to the full range of the human heart, the more decent and wise we become, individually and collectively", says US-based writer and editor Leon Wieseltier in this interview.
This article, in Catalan, was published in ENTREACTE, the magazine of the "Catalonian association of professional performers and directors", in the 2016 summer issue. It presents the new Mission of IETM and adds some meaning and context to its different statements.
"Reproduction, appropriation, new narratives, and opposition to hegemonies: techniques art has used to challenge the mass-produced cultural propaganda of fascism, late imperialistic capitalism and outmoded intrinsically conservative, individualistic and modernist beliefs about autonomy. This type of avant-garde approach had real cultural importance and it was dangerous."
"Een maand na de subsidiebeslissingen in Vlaanderen werd ook de vierjaarlijkse ronde in Nederland een slagveld voor de podiumkunsten. Vaste waarden als Dood Paard, het Theaterfestival, Orkater, Laura van Dolron, het Haagse danshuis Korzo, LeineRoebana, Popfestival Noorderslag: allemaal zien ze hun toekomstplannen verdampen. Het onderliggende probleem blijkt hetzelfde als in Vlaanderen. Er is veel te weinig budget voor de beschikbare kwaliteit, en dat blokkeert alle groeikansen."
Millions of Syrians have fled their war-torn country. Those who stayed behind are confronted daily with the ongoing war. 26-year-old Ahmad Joudeh is one of them. He fights the war in his own way.
We’re currently witnessing the largest international migration of people and the worst refugee crisis since World War II. British theatre has a long tradition of holding a mirror up to the most challenging issues of our time, and the current humanitarian crisis is no exception. Recent months have seen many theatrical responses to the refugee situation by artists here in the UK, as theatre companies and artists turn their attention to the issue.
The NEA has posted a very interesting interview between their Sunil Iyengar and the critic Leon Wieseltier. It raises interesting questions about the role of measurement in arts policy. So here is a question: what really is the demand for performance measures in public spending? After all, the biggest spending item in the US government (excluding transfer payments to individuals) is far and away the military. It is not my impression that defense spending is determined by the latest set of performance indicators. Farm subsidies? Transportation infrastructure? The tax expenditure involved in...

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