Saturday 13 October, 4.00pm until 5.30pm, Felix Meritis, Keizersgracht 324, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
This discussion will be in English.
Tickets: €7,50. Attend both discussions for €10,- Discount rates: €5,- (one discussion) €7,50 (both discussions).
For more information and to book tickets: Felix Meritis.
Even after endless discussions about cuts to arts budgets, across Europe, in both Britain and Holland, in Italy and in Greece, there seems to be no agreement on the value of the arts. Artists have made impassioned defences but not everyone is convinced. It is hard to make a case for funding another modern dance troupe in the face of the impact of recession on social provision. Why not fund a hospital or care for the elderly? In a world that is increasingly quantified, compared and assessed, it is perhaps only fair that a framework for measuring the value of the arts is put in place. But where to begin?
Economists have argued the arts can stimulate the economy. Some suggest we need to spend more rather than less on the “creative sector.” Some artists too have embraced this view, maybe even a bit too eagerly. Is their use of creativity and inspiration really a boost to the economy? And how new is this way of looking at the value of arts? One could argue that the economistic view is only an extension of how politics have been using arts in recent decades—as a means to promote political ideals, whether nationalism or multiculturalism, not as an end in itself. In the UK, for example, the Royal Society of Arts argues that participation in the arts can actually make people better citizens: that doing art is a tool for social cohesion.
Can science come to the rescue? Psychologists claim art can make us healthier and happier. Some neuroscientists think exposure to great paintings increases blood flow to the same part of our brains stimulated when we gaze on a loved one. We may have evolved the arts as an evolutionary gambit so as to form stronger social bonds and thus increase our chances of survival. Then again, if we want to boost public health, there are probably more direct and cost effective ways to achieve this.
Maybe the solution is simply to ask what people would prefer to see funded and what they would not? But if the answer was that money should only go to football and musicals, what then? Is there a requirement to fund a degree a ‘high culture’ no matter what people think? Is there a value to the arts beyond an instrumentalist, means to an end, perspective? Can we put a value on truth, on beauty? What value do such concepts have in society today? Just how should we value the arts?
director, de Appel arts centre and Curatorial Programme; presenter, 4Art, Dutch television
|Professor Henkjan Honing|
KNAW-Hendrik Muller chair in Music Cognition and professor of Cognitive and Computational Musicology, University of Amsterdam
|Dr Tiffany Jenkins|
writer and broadcaster; author, Keeping Their Marbles: how treasures of the past ended up in museums and why they should stay there
artistic director, Tolhuistuin; writer and author
composer; professor, "Popkunst", ArtEZ school of Arts
chairman, Night Time Industries Association (NTIA)
Forced to meet EU budget targets, the Dutch government has made sharp spending cuts - an unpopular move ahead of next week's election. Arts and culture are among the biggest casualties.Anna Holligan, BBC News, 6 September 2012
Internationaal Danstheater says the government has made cuts too quickly, leaving organisations without alternative supporSiobhán Dowling, Guardian, 2 August 2012
Proposed changes will put pressure on much-loved companies as the Netherlands's musical-haven status comes under threatTom Service, Guardian, 20 June 2012
If art museums are the new churches, perhaps they should end the veneration of ambiguity and start serving our inner needsAlain de Botton, Guardian, 20 January 2012
Art is a lifelong learning curve and the market is no substitute for putting eyeballs directly on it—smelling it, tasting it and touching it. You need to lift it, hang it, insure it, frame it, pack it, ship it, live with it, damage it, hate it and idolize it.Kenny Schachter, Rise Art, 24 October 2011
Plans to get UK cultural institutions to measure the economic value of art are both philistine and futile.Tiffany Jenkins, spiked, 6 July 2011
The cultural sector faces the conundrum of proving its value in a way that can be understood by decision-makers.Dave O’Brien, DCMS, 16 December 2010