Strand: Arts and culture

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Debates about how culture both reflects and shapes our world are ever-present in the news. For example, what are the responsibilities of the artist today in the context of debates about identity, free speech, cultural appropriation and more? Should avoiding offence take precedence over artistic freedom? Such questions even impinge on art from the past, particularly in light of the #MeToo campaign. Is it right to criticise or even remove paintings depicting female nudes? When the cultural community seems overwhelmingly in favour of remaining in the EU, how can UK society's Brexit divisions be reflected on stage? More broadly, can culture heal divisions in society and bring communities together - or is using art in this way actually undermining it? Indeed, with the left seemingly giving up on campaigning around economic issues, is culture now the vehicle of choice for changing the world?