Cultivating mangement? Managing culture?
journal contributionposted on 2005-01-01, 00:00 authored by Ron GoodrichRon Goodrich
Jean Battersby, the founding executive officer of the Australia Council of the Arts from 1968, delivered a lecture in May 2005 which bemoaned a situation in which the focus and funding of the arts appears to have more to do with managers than with artists. Cultural policy and cultural economics have become the staple of the day, so much so that the thought of an economist actually proposing an Arts Council protected from political manipulation and scrutiny—‘with antennae sensitive to public opinion or political advantage’ and ever ready to apply the ‘child of three’ test (Battersby, 2005: 2)—seems an absurdity. Yet, in July 1945, Maynard Keynes proposed that Britain have an Arts Council without government and its bureaucracy intervening in the relationship between artists and their public. The task, as Battersby records it, ‘is not to teach or to censor, but to give courage, confidence and opportunity’ without prescription (2005: 6).