“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)
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
“…the fate of migrants is becoming securitised and weaponised. When the European Parliament voted to interrupt Turkey’s EU membership ascension process and plans for visa-free travel, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened the EU that he would not stop migrants travelling to Europe ‘Listen to me: these border gates will be opened if you go any further’ (BBC, 25 November 2016).” Continue reading
“The spread of discontent, disengagement and disaffection across Western societies has revealed the yawning chasm between power and the people…The reaction against this discontent has brought the historical fear and loathing of the masses bubbling back to the surface. Demos-phobia is back in fashion” (Mick Hume) Continue reading
The government’s ‘Prevent’ strategy sees the sudden psychological ‘radicalisation’ of vulnerable children and young people as the cause of today’s apparently meaningless acts of terrorism. It has turned teachers and lecturers into spies looking out for signs of ‘radicalisation’ including signs of unusual behaviour and mental illness. ‘Prevent’ has many critics who often condemn it as ‘Islamophobic’ for targeting Muslims, while its supporters claim that the aim is to prevent terrorism in all its forms including that of extreme right or ‘Fascist’ groups and that of individual fanatics. Continue reading
Do 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
The East Midlands Salon is taking a summer break but will be back in the autumn with a whole new programme. We begin with a special event in September:
Wednesday 28 September – What is the role of a Salon in the 21st Century? Continue reading
Our unique June Salon is the Midlands’ premiere of Every Cook Can Govern, the first feature-length documentary to explore the life, writings and politics of the great Trinidad-born revolutionary C.L.R. James who died in Brixton in 1989. Continue reading
From the 1960s, tourism was encouraged as an unquestionable good. With the arrival of package holidays and charter flights, tourism could at last be enjoyed by the masses. The UN even declared 1967 ‘International Years of the Tourist’, and recognised tourism was as ‘a basic and most desirable human activity, deserving the praise and encouragement of all people’s and all governments’.
Today, however, tourism is no longer seen in such a positive light. Since the 1990s there’s been growing criticism of the tourist industry, and tourists themselves. Continue reading
‘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.