Mark Smith, executive director, Axis Web, Leeds


Issue 115/10, p15, 01.10.2015
What would you like to see in a white paper on the arts?
Mark Smith, executive director, Axis Web, Leeds

“Artsandcultureisorganic. Preserving our heritage is important, but equally so is nurturing and enabling new cultural developments.

The white paper should adopt a concept of cultural engagement with emphasis and support for equality of access, where people are participants, whether that is as artists, curators or critics.

It should embrace the value of art, craft and design, and embed them in the education system so children, young people and adults are given the time, space and resources to explore creativity and their cultural landscape further.”


Victoria Pomery, director, Turner Contemporary, Margate

“There’s now an understanding that the arts sector is good for UK tourism and the economy. Our cultural ecology is diverse and it’s important to maintain that, as well as our economic position. We need the government to support that and develop the sector further.

"A white paper on the arts needs to be far reaching, addressing issues such as diversity, gift aid, sustainability, taxation and endowment schemes. It needs to articulate what we value about the arts, ensuring the sector continues to thrive, but also have measures that prepare for change.”


Claire Doherty, founder-director, Situations, Bristol

“Culture is one of this country’s great strengths. Yet our understanding of how best
to support the arts outside a gallery, museum or theatre desperately needs revising. Public art, for example, is often considered purely as an embellishment or, worse still, an uninvited guest.

"Public art policies tend to emphasise the value in a permanently-sited, static public sculpture, despite evidence that temporary projects or those that unfold over time through collaboration with local residents, are far more likely to establish a greater social and economic return on investment.”


Sarah Brown, curator of programmes, Leeds Art Gallery

“We need to embed the arts inextricably and unapologetically in education, economy and society. It is not an added extra or a luxury and should be valued inherently as part of our economic strength and funding strategy.

Art and culture are central to our society, our economy and our experience of life. Museums, galleries, artists and collections play a vital role in the unique spirit of a place. In a landscape that is increasingly homogenous, these elements contribute to a sector alive with participants and audiences with an insatiable appetite for it.”