News, Uncategorized

“It’s the Art, Stupid!”

Beyond Value Event KCL at the  on the 13/12/2016. Photo: David Tett

The UK’s longest serving Culture Minister, the Rt Hon Ed Vaizey MP, together with current BBC Head of Arts Jonty Claypole, were among a prestigious list of speakers at “Beyond Value for Money”, a symposium on cultural value staged by us at the Department of Culture, Media and Creative Industries.

The symposium investigated to what extent broadcasting, the arts, and cultural education have a value that is more than financial, and whether “good value for money” is therefore a sufficient measure of the full value of what many of us do.

The BBC charter renewal was a hot topic of conversation, as were the intrinsic versus the instrumental values of the arts and education. Former BBC World Service and Barbican Centre managing director Sir John Tusa gave the opening address, arguing that providing value for money should be an instrument and not end, concluding: “It’s the art, stupid!”

BBC Trustee and former Radio 4 controller Mark Damazer, CBE, argued that simply being distinctive was not the same as being excellent, while independent TV and film executive David Elstein made a spirited case for the “race to the top” in subscription television.

Other speakers at the day-long event included Georgina Born, OBE, Professor of Music at Oxford University; Lizzie Crump, Co-Director, The Cultural Learning Alliance; and John Holden, Associate and former Head of Culture at Demos.

The symposium convenor was CMCI’s Professor of Cultural Sociology Richard Howells, and the event was funded and supported by King’s College London’s Arts and Humanities Research Institute under their new World Service initiative.

A set of high definition photographs of the speakers in action at “Beyond Value for Money” is available at:

Our picture here shows Richard Howells chairing questions for Ed Vaizey at the event. Photo credit: David Tett photography.

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