Is it time to depoliticise art?

“The author Howard Jacobson once wrote that if an artist’s work is political, it only works as art if it transcends politics. Today, curatorial choices seem to have been driven by political perspective rather than artistic merit. Or, as art critic Matthew Collings wrote of the Tate Modern, its overriding message now appears to be ‘Meaning must always entail moralising’.

Worse still – argues our speaker Wendy Earle – “the modern politics of art is trite, the idea of collective art-making and performance art largely uninteresting, and the general slightness and messiness of many of the works irritating and the overall lack of nuance, subtlety and, yes, beauty is wearisome and tedious.”

Date, Time and Venue: 11 May 2017, 7 PM in the Parlour of the Brunswick Inn, Derby. £3 (£2 unwaged).

Speaker: Dr Wendy Earle

Wendy writes on the arts and culture for spiked and is convenor of the Institute of Ideas Arts and Society Forum, which promotes open and open-ended discussion of the arts and culture and of the place of arts and culture in society. She works at Birkbeck, University of London, to promote knowledge exchange and public engagement with research in the arts, humanities and social sciences. Previously she worked in educational publishing and at the British Film Institute.

A selection of Wendy’s articles is available in the Spiked Author Archive

Chair: Dr Vanessa Pupavac (University of Nottingham)

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Campaigns such the NUS backed ‘Why is My Curriculum White?’ and #DecoloniseEducation promise to overturn ‘the “Whiteness”, Eurocentric domination and lack of diversity in the curricula…which frames the West as sole producers of universal knowledge’. There is growing support for making courses, faculties, reading lists and ‘core’ subjects more culturally diverse to take account of the diverse backgrounds of an expanded student population. It is argued that ‘White’ curricula are responsible for feelings of ‘isolation, marginalisation, alienation and exclusion’ among non-white students. Continue reading

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The dual crisis of migration

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The dangerous rise of anti-democracy

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The future of free speech: will tackling ‘radicalisation’ mean the death of debate?

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Knowledge versus Skills: the great education debate 2016

callaghanDo we want children to learn ‘the best that has been known and thought in the world’ or do we want them to have the skills necessary for work and life in the 21st Century? Why impose an elite, Victorian curriculum on children today? Children need to be empowered to unleash their creativity and to develop the soft skills for a new world and a new workplace. Do really need latter day Gradgrinds pouring ‘facts’ into empty vessels and then examining them? Continue reading

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The autumn programme 2016

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Wednesday 28 September – What is the role of a Salon in the 21st Century? Continue reading

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The morality of tourism

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Is ’empowerment’ empowering?

Empowerment 1‘Empowerment’ is a term in widespread use today and one that is often considered to be a self-evident good. In this talk Ken McLaughlin will explore its emergence in the 1960s through to its rise in the 1990s and ubiquity in present day discourse in education, social work and health and social care discourse. He will examine how it constructs and positions those being empowered and those empowering and will argue that a focus on empowerment has superseded the notion of political subjects exercising power autonomously.

Date and time: Tuesday 26 April at 7 PM

Venue: The Hallmark Midland Hotel, Derby

Tickets: £5 waged / £3 unwaged available on Eventbrite or at the door.

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