Academy of Ideas

Culture: who pays?

April 5, 2019

Recording of a debate at the Battle of Ideas Festival 2018 at The Barbican, London.

Should funding for cultural projects be scaled back in a time of fiscal crisis? As we approach the National Lottery’s 25th anniversary, many are asking questions about where funding for culture should come from. Some anti-austerity campaigners say that new projects like the V&A museum in Dundee, at a cost of £80million, put unnecessary pressure on already stretched budgets. Others argue that a vibrant cultural scene is key to building confidence in communities and creating social cohesion, threatened by visible inequalities in wealth, housing, health and education. What about private funding? Could that compromise artistic freedom? And should we view culture as a luxury or a necessity in a modern-day society?

ALEXANDER ADAMS
artist, writer and art critic; author, Culture War: art, identity politics and cultural entryism (forthcoming)

DR TIFFANY JENKINS
writer and broadcaster; author, Keeping Their Marbles: how treasures of the past ended up in museums and why they should stay there

BARB JUNGR
award-winning singer, songwriter, composer and writer

SEAN GREGORY
director of learning & engagement, Barbican Centre and Guildhall School of Music & Drama

CHAIR: CLAIRE FOX
director, Academy of Ideas;