Royal Society For The Encouragement Of Arts

On 14th January I attended State of the Arts – The Conference for the Arts, hosted by the Royal Society for the Encouragement of the Arts, Manufacturers and Commerce (RSA) and held at Park Plaza Riverbank, London. The conference examined the current and future challenges and opportunities around domestic arts policy, strategy and funding and Britain’s position within the global cultural landscape.

What follows is the documentation of my attempt to review and report on the event in real-time. New technologies are increasing the immediacy with which communication can be made. One could assume the gap between experiencing an event and reporting on it will become ever smaller. Using Twitter I attempted to comment on the discussions as they were happening, instantly tweeting my opinions and responses via my iPhone. A more reflective text will be posted on my blog at, and a feature on the conference will appear in the March edition of a-n Magazine. Please forward any opinions you might have, either on the formatting of this coverage or on the actual content itself to my twitter account at

The State of the Arts – the Conference for the Arts

B. Bradshaw: Reduction in funding for arts in relation to Olympics is only temporary and will change after 2012…are we convinced? #sa105:40 PM Jan 14th

B. Bradshaw: Reduction in funding for arts in relation to Olympics is only temporary and will change after 2012…are we convinced?5:40 PM Jan 14th

RT @theRSAorg: Bradshaw: UK success: 1) natural creativity 2) sustained investment 3) pol. comit. 4) ending debate about access #sa105:15 PM Jan 14th

B. Bradshaw: ‘Every pound put into the arts generates 5 pounds for the overall economy’ #sa105:14 PM Jan 14th

B. Bradshaw: ‘Every pound put into the arts generates 5 pounds for the overall economy’5:13 PM Jan 14th

B. Bradshaw: ‘Would be great if this could be an annual event’ How about being less focused on London..maybe next year Burnley…?! #sa105:12 PM Jan 14th

B. Bradshaw: ‘Would be great if this could be an annual event’ How about being less focused on London..maybe next year Burnley…?!5:08 PM Jan 14th

Next up the keynote session A 21st Century Settlement for Arts and Culture with Rt Hon Ben Bradshaw MP5:04 PM Jan 14th

Bill Ivey: ‘In the US majority of artists income from their work is classed as below poverty line and as such have 2nd jobs’4:40 PM Jan 14th

Nicholas Serota: ‘We need more art on tv but a young kid in Burnley is going to struggle to pay for a subscription to Sky Arts’4:33 PM Jan 14th

RT @theRSAorg: Nic Serota talking about how the need to present ourselves (britain) to the wider world by making arts more visible. #sa104:31 PM Jan 14th

Nicholas Serota: Artists have right to not be mass entertainment and not be judged purely on visitor figures#sa104:30 PM Jan 14th

Shobana Jeyasingh: ‘Artists often have to fit into systems which are not always suited…’ Great speech… #sa104:17 PM Jan 14th

RT @theRSAorg: It’s almost impossible to articulate certain cultural/artistic rights – Tom Morris – #sa104:10 PM Jan 14th

Ivey’s Cultural Bill of Rights..great concept but is it workable? Converted Tom Morris nonetheless… #sa104:10 PM Jan 14th

Bill Ivey: Indicators of cultural vibrancy, expanded indicators, expressive life…is this categorisation in keeping w/public concept of art3:57 PM Jan 14th

Will cuts in the arts lead to, as Dame Liz Forgan puts it, ‘deteriorating venues, lack of enterprise and loss of artistic nerve’?3:33 PM Jan 14th

Next up we have What are the cultural rights worth fighting for? Speakers include Nic Serota, Shobana Jeyasingh and Tom Morris #sa103:26 PM Jan 14th

Iwona Blazwick – ‘We need to not fear the fact the arts are complicated’ #sa103:14 PM Jan 14th

I wonder what the consequences of ignoring Matt Taylor’s request to end questioning will be? #sa103:11 PM Jan 14th

RT @theRSAorg: Iwona Blazwick- Sport vs. Arts. Tv audience is split 60:40::F:M – wants to see more diversity in coverage#sa103:05 PM Jan 14th

Kevin Lygo: ‘Television hasn’t worked out why less people will sit and watch an art doc and more will go to see an exhibition.’ #sa103:04 PM Jan 14th

Audience member: ‘We have the antiques roadshow but what about contemporary craft on television?’ #sa102:57 PM Jan 14th

Iwona Blazwick: ‘There is a new passion for craft in the arts. In the face of mass capitalism there is desire to make our own things.’2:54 PM Jan 14th

RT @theRSAorg: Are media companies doing enough in creating compelling content – C4 successful in getting artists to direct films? – K. Lygo2:51 PM Jan 14th

Will Gompertz: ‘It is arts journalisms duty to communicate funding policy to the general public in an easy to understand way’ #sa102:50 PM Jan 14th

Kevin Lygo (channel 4) ‘I think it is great the BBC will hire someone like Will Gompertz who will scare viewers’…bit rude!;-) #sa102:43 PM Jan 14th

Iwona Blazwick: ‘There is a massive growth in art students’. Do not see many here unfortunately #sa102:37 PM Jan 14th

Iwona Blazwick: Who is the public? In London alone we have 100 different ethnic groups and 300 different language groups.2:32 PM Jan 14th

Will Gompertz (BBC) ‘is arts coverage becoming niche? How can different media expand the coverage in different ways?’2:30 PM Jan 14th

Feel like I am being sold an upgrade package for Sky Arts by John Cassy…2:16 PM Jan 14th

RT @speedina: with such expensive tickets wish the event was online to enable more to join the debate; tweets just don’t quite do it..2:10 PM Jan 14th

Next up..Do the public get the media coverage they deserve? Should be interesting..although not sure ‘deserve’ is the right word..1:54 PM Jan 14th

@theRSAorg Jeremy Deller: ‘In 1910 we were asking the same questions (whether artists can change society) I think we were ok…’1:50 PM Jan 14th

Loved it when the RSA live tweets appeared on a projection and audience concentration switched to comments from the wider public.1:47 PM Jan 14th

Where are all the artists?Maybe charging £115 per ticket excludes a particular percentage of the arts community?1:44 PM Jan 14th

Katie Paterson: “i don’t think art should need a reason to exist”…not sure this conference suggests so…1:42 PM Jan 14th

Marcus Romer: ‘There are 350 million people on facebook – that’s the 3rd largest country in the world. Our sector has to deal with it’.1:40 PM Jan 14th

John McGrath – ‘Can artists change society? Yep but if artists have to have a social agenda we lose the undefinable’ #sa101:18 PM Jan 14th

Jeremy Hunt MP promises to increase National Lottery funding to pre-Labour levels, increasing annual revenue by £50 million10:50 AM Jan 14th

Jeremy Hunt MP promises to make cuts to arts admin costs from 11% (£120 mill annually) to 5% of grant distributions should the Tories win10:48 AM Jan 14th

Word ‘encouragement’ is plastered everywhere. RSA seem to have done best to discourage young artists with ticket price (£115) alone10:43 AM Jan 14th

@speedina Hope you enjoy the conference Emily. Should be some interesting topics up for discussion.9:20 AM Jan 14th

in reply to speedinaCheck out the full programme and list of speakers for State of the Arts here AM Jan 14th

My coverage of the State of the Arts Conference will begin at 9.30am. Please tune in to follow live updates and feel free to tweet opinions.7:43 AM Jan 14th

What challenges face arts activism in the 21st century? Does the digital age increase the possibilities for artists to motivate change?7:40 AM Jan 14th

Are the arts doing enough to shape progressive change? Check out the State of the Arts Conference at 1pm to hear the discussion…7:38 AM Jan 14th

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