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May 11, 2011

Cuts in Culture conference live blog - 1 of 3

Welcome to Research Fortnight's Cuts in Culture live blog from Bafta. Our first session today is Policy in Context: Challenging or Inspiring Creativity?

Our speakers are Lord Denis Stevenson; Ivan Lewis, shadow secretary of state for culture media and sport; Jude Kelly, artistic director of the Southbank Centre;  and Peter Scott, professor of higher education at the Institute of Education. Their chairman is Charles Saumarez Smith, secretary and chief executive of the Royal Academy of Arts.

News, instant analysis and comment on  what was said. Read from the bottom up.

That's the end of the first cuts in culture session -  Elizabeth Gibney continued the coverage on Cuts in Culture conference live blog - 2

11.00 talking about breaking out of silos, as Jude Kelly mentioned earlier. Ivan Lewis says the problem is the same in government. Over nine years in power, I heard a lot of talk about joined-up government, but I never saw it in action, he says.

10.52 A virologist in the audience has just told us about an online petition that scientists can sign to protest against arts cuts: http://www.gopetition.co.uk/petition/44226.html

10.50 question/comment from Sally Taylor- London Centre for Arts and Cultural Exchange. I think we need to look to America, and Harvard in particular, where they are considering the importance of the arts and creativity across the institution's work

10.35 Scott: research has been dominated by the Research Assessment Exercise and now the Research Excellence Framework. This represents two challenges: while the definition of research has always been wide in the RAE, in practice a particular interpretation has become dominant. It is labelled, perhaps unfairly, 'the physics paradigm. Esteem, invites to serve on editorial boards for journals etc. This way of operating fits sciences like a glove, it doesn't fit so well for arts and humanities. The second is more fundamental, there is a need to identify world-class research in STEM subjects, but this doesn't apply so much in arts and humanities. There is no need to pick winners, we need the good, the bad and possibly the mad. There is less consensus on what is 'good'.

10.33 Universities have often judged their success on their performance in the big sciences. So how do arts and humanities justify themselves in a world that is increasingly market focused?

10.32 Scott:  These are difficult times for the arts and humanities but maybe less damaging than we sometimes think. THe damage may be more collateral. Cuts in arts and humanities may be more of an unintended consequence of the government's fees policy

10.31 We'll now hear from Peter Scott on wider perceptions of the value of creative arts and humanities

10.28 Kelly: We've got to use our creativity so the conversations we have will contribute to the 21st century and beyond. We need to educate ourselves and bring ourselves back together in new forums

10.27 This is not a difficult time because we have lost some money, it is challenging because we have allowed ourselves to become divided

10.25 Kelly: we need a "sturdy, powerful, joyful" connection with science and technology that would make it impossible to divide us.

10.23 With the exception of the Wellcome Trust, the arts and humanities have so far failed to develop meaningful partnerships with science and technology. Eclecticism is what fuels human curiosity and we need to join in

10:20 Kelly: We have been living in our silos too much. This is exactly what education is supposed to help us out of

10.16 Kelly: How did senior people like me find ourselves talking about the consequences of cuts without having any discussion before they happened?

10.13 We've just heard from Ivan Lewis, shadow minister for culture media and sport, and now Jude Kelly, artistic director of the Southbank Centre, is taking the floor.

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