The Arts and humanity’s cause

For many years, I have been at what is today referred to as the intersection, in this case, of culture and politics. As someone who has worked in different ways and continues to in the cultural area, I have always seen the connection. As one, also involved directly in politics, more so. I particularly want to convey this on this excellent political site, contributing so regularly as I do, and appreciating very much all those involved.

There is overlap, and rapport between, cultural politics and political culture. This is true of the theatrical stage and on the political stage. Some time ago I did something about the need to link these, in keeping with liberal values, and contribute more as a result. It is a project in development. It is The Arts and Humanity’s Cause. A website set up and given shape is now joined by a channel which it would be marvellous if people could subscribe to on YouTube.

There is much to do from now in a situation where, as a result of the pandemic, there is a significant effect on  livelihoods as well as lives, a  cultural politics that needs greater awareness, and a political culture that needs greatly to change.

I see the scope of the connections that can and should be further explored. I have just partnered with the Ustinov Prejudice Awareness Forum. This is a forum which I contribute to, and work regularly with, as a member and writer. This terrific project was started by Sir Peter Ustinov, who was amongst many things a Liberal all his life, to continue his legacy as a man of many parts in the arts and as a humanitarian. He set it up originally at Durham University, where he was Chancellor. It continues online as a part of the Ustinov Network, which is an international effort with Sir Peter’s son, artist Igor Ustinov, at the helm. As someone of immigrant origin, with different aspects to his multinational background and family, the Ustinov efforts feel poignant and personal – to understand and eradicate prejudice. Yet these are efforts we can all, here, relate to and take up ourselves.

I would very much welcome it if colleagues and friends engage with and share an interest in articles and videos, as a result of links provided here. I especially would value others reading the statement of values, Introducing the Statement of Purpose – The Arts and Humanity’s Decree, amongst other things, expressed on the site, I have begun to create. As well as this, it would be great if others could see the videos I have begun to record, the first of these to encourage social distancing; the most recent, the talk which the Ustinov Forum are co-hosting, to understand the Black Lives Matter concerns.

The situation is very difficult in society. Bailouts are better by far than austerity. But money is attached too often to the well connected and comes with much in the way of bureaucracy. Whole areas of cultural life face potential ruin. So many smaller and worthwhile projects and productions that are being developed face little scope for investment or even interest. I know this myself. For many in the cultural field and creative industries, it is professionally more uncertain than ever.

This project goes further than might be supposed. It aims to approach issues both satirically, as well as seriously. It has, “an artistic sensibility that is humane, and a sense of humour!” It is related to the wider environment, to wellbeing and to quality of life. It links a lot with a fuller education, bringing arts and creativity to new generations. Of course, it is part of the broader economy, since the creative industries regularly generate millions and can provide work for so many. The intersection is really that of the arts and humanity. And between the liberal arts and liberal democracy.

* Lorenzo Cherin is an actor, writer, and regular contributor to politics as a member of the Liberal Democrats. He is based in Nottingham.

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  • Catherine Jane Crosland 16th Jul '20 - 4:33pm

    Thank you for this article, Lorenzo, and good luck with this project. Humanity needs the arts more than ever, right now.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 16th Jul '20 - 4:47pm

    Thanks so much Catherine, appreciate your response. We need to understand the connection between the arts and humanity, the potential for the one, involved with the other, in both directions, or, better, the way ahead…

  • Cllr Mark Wright 16th Jul '20 - 5:16pm

    Interesting initiative Lorenzo. Good luck!

  • Lorenzo Cherin 16th Jul '20 - 5:34pm

    Good to read, thanks Mark, for that comment

  • Michael Sammon 17th Jul '20 - 11:39am

    Just to say thank you, this is really inspiring Lorenzo.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 17th Jul '20 - 11:49am

    And thank you Mike, for the lovely comment here.

  • Sue Sutherland 17th Jul '20 - 3:19pm

    Good luck with this project Lorenzo! It should be of concern to all of us that the expression of the arts should be protected from the effects of this pandemic. I think the jewels in the crown will be helped but local community arts are definitely in danger and this is often the way that a community can learn about itself and express its joy or anger through creativity.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 17th Jul '20 - 4:58pm

    That is so eloquently put Sue thanks

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