BNC Text KS4

South East Arts Face the Media course: lecture. Sample containing about 3552 words speech recorded in educational context

7 speakers recorded by respondent number C876

PS6JT X f (a, age unknown) unspecified
PS6JU X m (bh, age unknown) unspecified
PS6JV X m (tc, age unknown) unspecified
PS6JW X m (cb, age unknown) unspecified
PS6JX X m (cc, age unknown) unspecified
PS6JY X f (fs, age unknown) unspecified
PS6K0 X u (rm, age unknown) unspecified

1 recordings

  1. Tape 139401 recorded on unknown date.


a (PS6JT) [3] Bob Henry, you must be aware of some of the criticisms which were levelled at the companies which were put out by arts associations, where they say really it's very self-indulgent and nobody much goes to see this particular type of dance group.
[4] What do you say to that?
bh (PS6JU) [5] I would say that it is our job to let people judge for themselves and have the opportunity to see controversial productions, whether it's dance or drama, and unless people have the opportunity, and unless the companies are given the chance to perform their own thing, that drama and dance in the long run will die.
a (PS6JT) [6] But given the shortage of money, ought not some of that money go towards preserving some of the great companies who are now under great pressure?
bh (PS6JU) [7] A great deal of money does go to preserving those companies like the National, the Royal Shakespeare, etc., and even in this region we have three regional repertory theatres who generally present very establishment shows, very middle of the road productions.
a (PS6JT) [8] What sort of audiences are you getting?
[9] I mean what sort of percentages do you reckon you're getting in the theatre?
bh (PS6JU) [10] They vary tremendously.
[11] They have dropped very much this last year.
[12] Not just for the type of shows that we are directly responsible for, namely the small scale productions, but also for all theatres, particularly in the South East and in the South.
a (PS6JT) [13] Could that be an indication that you aren't in fact giving the public what they want?
bh (PS6JU) [14] I would dispute that.
[15] Certainly some of the productions that we are responsible for, as I have said, are controversial, and some of the public might not really want them and might dispute their validity, but I think what it is an indication of is the fact that people are short of money and have to make quite sure that they are getting the best value for what they are paying for and they can't afford to go to the theatre as regularly as they might have done in the past.
a (PS6JT) [16] But given that you're really in the market place situation, if you have goods which nobody wants to sell then eventually you're going to have to grind to a halt.
bh (PS6JU) [17] Well that is an argument that applies to almost anything that you might be trying to sell, whether it's a commercial product or whether it is an artistic product, and in any case, as I have said before, we also support erm a great many organizations and projects which should, and will, appeal to the general public.
a (PS6JT) [18] Bob Henry, thank you very much.
a (PS6JT) [19] Tim Cornish, as Film and Television Officer for South East Arts, how do you think the new film categories are going to affect the sort of things that you're putting together?
tc (PS6JV) [20] I don't think the new film categories are
a (PS6JT) [21] Just a second, sorry.
[22] Bob, you mustn't rustle.
[23] It's all right.
[24] We'll start that again.
a (PS6JT) [25] Tim Cornish, as Film and Television Officer for South East Arts, how are you going to be affected by the new film categories?
tc (PS6JV) [26] I imagine by that you mean the new censorship categories from the British Board of Film Censors?
[27] I think by and large that will have no effect on us at all, since most of the independent films that we're responsible for tend to go out under club showings and do not therefore need to have certificates.
a (PS6JT) [28] Anybody who saw ‘Radio Radio’ might have written that off as a rather self-indulgent film.
[29] Do you think it gave a fair picture of what local radio is about?
tc (PS6JV) [30] I think it gave a fair picture, yes.
[31] I was a little disappointed with the film; I would like to have seen it erm more analytical, a little more hard hitting in terms of looking at what a local radio station does.
[32] erm I found it self-indulgent, I suppose in the sense that perhaps it was too long and the film maker, I think, was reluctant to erm chop some of that material, but I think the great advantage that the film had was that it reached a very wide audience by being shown on BBC South.
a (PS6JT) [33] But given that you're using public money, ought you not to have a tighter control over this very aspect?
tc (PS6JV) [34] I would dispute that entirely, and I think it's very dangerous for arts organizations to get closely involved in matters of detail in artistic control.
[35] I think the whole nature of artistic practice is that the artist must have a considerable amount of freedom.
a (PS6JT) [36] A considerable amount of freedom — I don't think anybody would dispute that — but you are actually using public resources, you're using erm highly expensive equipment, do you really not feel that in that situation some measure of at least financial control is essential?
tc (PS6JV) [37] Oh certainly, there was a great deal of financial control.
[38] I mean the film was given a budget, given a grant, and that film was shot within that budget erm there was no problem there.
a (PS6JT) [39] Tim Cornish, thank you very much.
a (PS6JT) [40] With me now is Chris Bates, who is the local Arts Development Officer, which includes community arts, Chris?
cb (PS6JW) [41] That's right, yes erm community arts, ethnic arts, touring, low cost building, creative play.
[42] It's quite a wide brief, actually.
a (PS6JT) [43] Now to many people community arts is a red rag to a bull because there is the feeling that a lot of these things start off quite splendidly as voluntary organizations, and suddenly they've got their fingers in the public purse.
cb (PS6JW) [44] [laugh] I think a lot of local authorities in particular have now found a tremendous benefit that can accrue from investing in community arts work.
[45] I think that the major difficulty has always been that erm oh I hate this.
[46] I can't handle this at all.
a (PS6JT) [47] Well, that's exactly why this course is being held.
[48] Let's start the whole thing again.
a (PS6JT) [49] Chris Bates, part of your brief involves community arts.
[50] Now many people think that this is an area where public money is really being squandered.
[51] If you want to run a nice, happy, little group of amateur people you should be allowed to get on with it, but public money shouldn't be spent on it.
[52] How do you react to that?
cb (PS6JW) [53] Well I think it's, public money should in fact be spent on it.
[54] It is invariably one whereby people have applied for those grants, they have gone through all the normal assessment criteria, which apply to any other art form, and if we feel that they adequately cover all those sort of areas then we respond, but as public body we have to be aware that groups, in applying to us, must fulfil the conditions that we lay down.
a (PS6JT) [55] What sort of conditions do you lay down?
cb (PS6JW) [56] Well we erm, in the sense that they must be legally constituted.
[57] I mean there are a number of different forms that can take erm they could be a co-operative, registered with a friendly industrial society, or have a board of directors, but there must be a legal personality to the organization in order for them to receive public funds.
a (PS6JT) [58] Well that's extremely laudable, but I don't think on the whole the public are too worried about whether the thing is legally constituted.
[59] That would obviously be your worry.
[60] But, from the point of view of the public, I think they see money being used to put on bare foot dancers leaping around and so on.
[61] I don't think the public view of community arts is a very good one, do you?
cb (PS6JW) [62] Well I think it's been misrepresentative, misrepresented, sorry, in a variety of ways.
[63] I think the most important thing about community arts is that it's arts for the community, and invariably one is not approaching it in the same way as one would market, say, a show at the Theatre Royal for instance.
[64] It very much involves participation and therefore the appeal for the broader level in terms of the public is less important for those groups that actually participate.
a (PS6JT) [65] Now ethnic arts is really playing for a very small number of people.
[66] How can you justify using very tight money in a public situation for such small pockets of people?
cb (PS6JW) [67] Well we can justify it very easily because we have a very, very small pocket of money to actually invest in ethnic arts.
[68] Our total budget for ethnic arts is in the region of about fifteen hundred pounds which, as you can probably appreciate in a region representing four million people, does not all us very much flexibility, but we also feel that it's the type of event which we are prepared to support, which is also important.
[69] I think that we look very favourably on schemes whereby an education process is involved erm where there are workshops and performance, but it becomes a total package in itself — it's not just a performance for an ethnic minority, but it's one that represents the fact that we live in a multi-cultural society itself.
a (PS6JT) [70] Chris Bates, thank you very much.
cb (PS6JW) [71] Thank you.
a (PS6JT) [72] Chris Cooper, you're fairly new in your appointment as Director of South East Arts.
[73] Have you found that you've got a lot of things to change and alter?
cc (PS6JX) [74] I've found that it's a little early to make judgements about that just yet.
[75] I've found that it was very necessary for me to take some time to get a grasp of what is a very complex situation and it would be rather foolish to jump in too quickly.
a (PS6JT) [76] Now you must be aware that whenever public money is involved in anything to do with the arts, that there is always a lot of criticism about how that money is spent.
[77] Have you come across this criticism as you go round the area?
cc (PS6JX) [78] I would disagree with the premise erm I've found that where public money is involved in the arts there is very occasionally public criticism of what we do.
[79] For the vast majority of the work that we do there is very seldom any criticism, and in actual fact there is mostly a clamour for more activity and more and better work.
a (PS6JT) [80] But the bottom line of that is always money, and your money is public money.
cc (PS6JX) [81] Yes, that's quite right, we are in the area of dealing with public money.
[82] We are accountable to the public in many different ways, and we always have to keep an eye on the fact that the public are looking at what we are doing with our money and local politicians and the community's representatives are always anxious to talk to us about what we are doing with that money and we must be prepared to answer any queries or any questions on our activities or those activities of people that we're sponsoring.
a (PS6JT) [83] How accountable do you feel that you are to the public?
[84] I mean the public is going to say we must have houses, we must have roads, must we have arts?
cc (PS6JX) [85] Well I don't think it's a very easy question to answer erm the Association, and I as the Director, feel accountable through a variety of channels.
[86] We're accountable directly through an Executive Committee and a committee structure, which does involve representatives of almost every local authority in the South East, and we are clearly accountable to those representatives through that particular system.
[87] We are also accountable through the press and local radio in terms that all our work, unlike many other professional bodies, all our work is constantly on show and critics are invited to see and assess and attend and write up the work that we fund, and those criticisms appear in local and regional press daily.
[88] We are also accountable through the box office in terms that your public will not come and see events and pay their money if the events that you're putting on are not of sufficiently high standard, so the accountability runs in three our four different channels and each of them are quite potent and quite immediate in terms of their impact that they can have on the Association.
a (PS6JT) [89] Well, you say you have representatives of local government bodies and so on, but really how much do you think they contribute in that situation?
[90] Surely an Association such as yours is basically run by the officers, it is a certain amount of window dressing having local councillors, if you like, sitting on your executive.
cc (PS6JX) [91] They don't necessarily contribute in terms of the creative ideas.
[92] Our object is to get the creative ideas from the artists erm and from the artistic groups within the community.
[93] What accountability rests on is that those particular representatives of the local authority have the opportunity to ask any question and have it answered at any time during the three hundred and sixty five days of the year in which we operate, and they are in a specially privileged position to challenge, or question, or talk about, or have answered — any particular point with regard to the work we're involved with.
[94] And to that degree I would say that we're accountable through those particular members.
a (PS6JT) [95] Christopher Cooper thank you very much for talking to us.
cc (PS6JX) [96] Thank you.
a (PS6JT) [97] Frances Smith, as Crafts Assistant at South East Arts, what are your actual duties?
fs (PS6JY) [98] They're fairly varied, but they're twofold basically.
[99] Firstly, to look after the professional craftsmen living and working in our area, and secondly to make the crafts more easily accessible to the general public.
a (PS6JT) [100] When you say crafts more easily accessible, I think a lot of people regard craft as a sort of extension to the Women's Institute.
[101] How do you answer that?
fs (PS6JY) [102] Yes, I think for a lot of people that's true and I don't denigrate that because I think a lot of good work goes on in the Women's Institute, but what we are particularly interested in is in the professional craftsman, the craftsman who has trained for a number of year to produce extremely good work, and what we try to do is to make that work more available to the public in a number of ways.
[103] Firstly through exhibitions and our support for exhibitions organised by other organizations, and also by taking crafts into schools so that we are, if you like, exposing the younger generation to the best in the craft world, in the hope that in the future they will be the buyers of good craft work.
a (PS6JT) [104] But you must have heard the criticism for things like the pile of bricks, the pile of carpet felt.
[105] Don't you think that that does enormous damage to the general public's view of what arts and crafts are about?
fs (PS6JY) [106] I think for a lot of people, yes, it does, and though the pile of bricks obviously comes under Art with a capital A, crafts perhaps has not suffered quite as much, but I think there is the feeling amongst people that if they get a pot which is, shall we say non-function and won't pour, then is it art or craft?
[107] And I think there is this dividing line that there is the pure craft where the object is functional and is made for a specific purpose, but is beautifully made, but there is also the craftsman who crosses the barrier between art and craft, who makes beautiful objects that are perhaps non functional, and then of course you're in the controversial field.
[108] It's also one of the most exciting areas though.
a (PS6JT) [109] But anything of this nature, surely, is very subjective.
fs (PS6JY) [110] I think all art to some extent is subjective, but I think that most people would agree that some things are so beautiful that everyone agrees that they are very worthwhile and shouldn't be destroyed.
[111] Sometimes we find things like the Moan Lisa, which have been denigrated and used in lots of different ways, but some people when they see it are still overpowered by the beauty of the object.
a (PS6JT) [112] Can you really hope to marry the practical arts to what are essentially, I suppose, for want of a better word, the arts of beauty?
fs (PS6JY) [113] I don't really see that there's such a dividing line, because I think if you're a housewife and you have a beautiful milk jug, which is perhaps very simple but has lovely lines to it, I think even if it's only subconsciously you get more pleasure out of using that than you would a rather cracked, grubby, plastic jug.
a (PS6JT) [114] Frances Smith thank you very much.
fs (PS6JY) [115] Thank you.
a (PS6JT) [116] Richard Moor, as Deputy Director of South East Arts, you have to work very closely with a number of people, some trained, some untrained.
[117] What sort of problems does that bring you?
rm (PS6K0) [118] Well I think there is, there aren't many problem with the trained people because they've been trained in the same areas as oneself and therefore understand what you're on about.
[119] I think the problems chiefly come with those who are not trained, or who are not familiar with the area of work you're trying to promote.
a (PS6JT) [120] How do you get over that situation?
rm (PS6K0) [121] Well hopefully by sort of tact and explanation in equal doses.
[122] One has to try and explain what it is we are about and why we're doing it and, if necessary, perhaps point out a few distinctions that may exist, for instance, between the professional and the amateur scene, not that I like using those words because I think they're fraught with all sort of potential misunderstandings.
a (PS6JT) [123] Now you say you try to explain why you're doing it.
[124] Let me ask you, why are you doing it?
[125] I mean, what is the object of the South East Arts Association?
rm (PS6K0) [126] Well I suppose we have to start with what we're doing.
[127] I don't know whether you want to talk about the whole area of our operation
a (PS6JT) [128] No, we've only got three minutes [laugh] .
rm (PS6K0) [129] Well, the visual arts shall we say?
[130] I mean, what we're trying to do in the visual arts is to spend what limited money we have to produce a better situation for the visual artist and for the public who gets pleasure and enlightenment from visual arts than exists at the moment, so rather than just prop up the status quo, which is what is would be very easy to do if one just kept the pot boiling so to speak by giving a few grants to artists here and sitting at the centre of a spider's web in Tunbridge Wells waiting for applications to come in to us and then responding.
[131] I think we need to be a bit more positive than that.
a (PS6JT) [132] What about people who will inevitably criticise you for a large canvas, half of which is black, and half of which is blue, and which is labelled ‘Blue on Black’.
[133] I mean can you really justify supporting somebody with public money who's producing the sort of work which if I, as a totally unknown person, produced it would be thrown onto a bonfire?
rm (PS6K0) [134] Well I think there's a world of difference.
[135] Yes, I think one could justify that without too much trouble.
[136] erm The basic difference is between abstract and figurative art, say.
[137] The problems with most people, if I can generalise, is that they have been brought up on the notion that a picture has to represent something and that to them means something recognizable, like a tree, or a landscape, or a windmill, or an oast house.
[138] So they get thrown when faced with a canvas which represents nothing other than form or shape or colour and they get thrown because they haven't the vocabulary, it seems to them, to respond to it, and they feel the need to respond verbally.
a (PS6JT) [139] But I like to look at something and know what it's saying, I mean what is, what is the canvas ‘Blue on Black’ actually saying?
[140] And you are using, and I emphasise again, you are using public money to say it.
[141] Now what you want to do in the privacy of your own home in terms of art is one thing, but if I'm using public money I really need to be able to justify it.
rm (PS6K0) [142] Well I think an abstract canvas can say a great deal.
[143] It's a contemplative thing and what I would recommend you is go to The Tate and sit in the middle of the Rothgo Room there, which is actually a series of canvasses, as you probably know, of a sort of reddish hue, entirely abstract, and you are surrounded by these in a small, fairly dimly lit room, and spend half an hour there and see perhaps whether they work on you.
[144] Most people, unfortunately, think that a picture should have an impact.
[145] They will give it perhaps two to five seconds of their time.
[146] It's very interesting watching people move round an exhibition.
[147] They will stop, for probably about five seconds maximum, before any one work.
[148] Well that's no way to respond to the work of art.
[149] You certainly wouldn't get away with that with a violin concerto or something of the sort [laugh] .
[150] An artist has perhaps given as much time to a single major work as a composer might have given to a sonata or whatever it may be.
a (PS6JT) [151] Richard Moor, thank you very much.