“A Liberal believes in the raucous, unpredictable capacity of people”

That’s the striking quote from Nick Clegg which opens The Power of Creativity, a set of new proposals for the arts and creative industries published today by the Liberal Democrats. The paper goes on to make the point that,

The first chairman of the Arts Council was that great Liberal John Maynard Keynes. His vision as set out in 1946 remains ours in 2010: “to create an environment, to breed a spirit, to cultivate an opinion, to offer a stimulus to such purpose that the artist and the public can each sustain and live on the other in that union which has occasionally existed in the past at the great ages of a communal civilized life.”

The main proposals in The Power of Creativity are:

  • Change the way the National Lottery is taxed to generate more money for arts and heritage as well as for the Treasury
  • Provide support for new start-ups in the creative industries and enable more businesses to offer internships and apprenticeships
  • Offer all our children a more creative education by freeing up the curriculum and increasing the amount of time trainee primary school teachers spend learning about the arts and creativity
  • Make it easier for small venues to host live music events by reducing bureaucracy that restricts small venues
  • Make sure the regions and cities outside London do not miss out by reviewing the Arts Council England’s funding structures and creating a new administrative status for national museums that will enable them to be more enterprising and independent
  • Open up the Government Art Collection for greater public use

Don Foster says of the paper,

This set of policies demonstrates our commitment to the arts and creative industries and our belief in their central importance in our society.  Art and culture play a vital role in society and as well as driving regeneration they can be crucial in helping with education and even fighting crime.

We want to move away from restrictive and bureaucratic targets for the arts and instead focus on celebrating our cultural wealth and nurturing new talent.

In particular we want to see a greater emphasis on creativity in our education system. We will bring an end to the stifling impact of Labour’s over-prescriptive curriculum and meaningless targets.

At a time when our creative industries offer the potential for a bright economic future in this country we will invest in creative talent.

The future we want is a country fulfilling its creative potential.

You can read a copy of the full paper here (pdf format).

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2 Comments

  • Paul Jenkins 6th Feb '10 - 8:17am

    This is an excellent story.

    As a drama teacher, I see on a daily basis the power of the arts to link communities and bring people together in a creative environment. With so much negative talk of ‘broken Britain’ , a positive message of creativity is the clear alternative message for us as Liberal Democrats.

    There are so few opportunities nowadays for people to be ‘social’ (without getting drunk) that a drive on making the arts accessible might be the ‘society glue’ everyone in Westminster has been scrambling around in the dirt for. It certainly seems a more positive (and effective) move than tax breaks for married couples. (Cheers for that one Dave- not)

    The problem for us campaign wise if we were to push this as an agenda item would be how not to make the arts ‘a wooly’ subject – something which always puts the electorate off voting for us. That’s quite a difficult job though as by nature us arts teachers are as Nick said raucous and unpredictable! (It actually says something about this subject that I take that as a compliment!!)

    Quite a challenge, but one which if its pulled off would be part of a larger, more positive approach to social cohesion in Britain.

  • Great proposals. Culture erally is so important and I long for the day when it’s not seen as ‘whooly’

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