TAITMAIL     The Fed and the parlours of power

TAITMAIL The Fed and the parlours of power

The Creative Industries Federation is in a spin, how vertiginous a spin remains to be seen.

On the other musical hand

On the other musical hand

All standard musical instruments require ten active fingers to be able to play them and up to 30,000 children in UK schools are deprived access to music-making as a result. But OHMI is opening up musical expression to them, Simon Tait reports

First woman MP’s portrait presented to Commons

First woman MP’s portrait presented to Commons

This portrait of Constance Countess Markievicz, the first woman to be elected to the House of Commons in 1918, was last night presented to the House on behalf of the Irish parliament.

V&A fulfills £100k regional pledge

V&A fulfills £100k regional pledge

The Victoria & Albert Museum is fulfilling the promise its then director made when it won the 2016 Art Fund Museum of the Year award, to revive its touring design exhibitions.

Pictures at an Exhibition

Pictures at an Exhibition

The Great Exhibition of the North is underway. But will it fulfil the hopes of its creators? Patrick Kelly has a look.

Huge fall in numbers of arts teachers

Huge fall in numbers of arts teachers

Arts teacher numbers in England are in dramatic decline, according to official figures.

Creative Scotland’s Archer resigns

Creative Scotland’s Archer resigns

Creative Scotland chief executive Janet Archer, is leaving after five years in the role.

Kampfner stands down from Fed

Kampfner stands down from Fed

John Kampfner has stood down as chief executive of the Creative Industries’ Federation, which he founded four years ago with Sir John Sorrell.

Audience agency in Scotland closes

Audience agency in Scotland closes

Axe falls after Creative Scotland grant cut

Site making its Steel City mark

Site making its Steel City mark

Sheffield’s Site Gallery is to reopen with three times the space, and a new mission with a new artistic director, it was announced today.

Ground rules set for Brexit culture deal

Ground rules set for Brexit culture deal

The government’s Brexit white paper has set out a basis to ensure artists’ mobility between the UK and Europe after Brexit.

Battersea Arts Centre heralds reopening with Trump protest

Battersea Arts Centre heralds reopening with Trump protest

Three years since Battersea Arts Centre’s great hall burnt down, it is pre-empting it autumn opening today with a defiant message for Donald Trump https://www.bac.org.uk.

TAITMAIL   What, me worry, when Mr Wright has come along?

TAITMAIL What, me worry, when Mr Wright has come along?

Who is Jeremy Wright, the headlines on Tuesday were asking.  For me, he bears an unnerving likeness to Mad Magazine’sAlfred E Neuman (a kind of 1960s Forrest Gump who only ever said “What, me worry?”), but he was the Attorney General and is now the seventh Secretary State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport since 2010.

Dulwich to get a Colour Palace

Dulwich to get a Colour Palace

Dulwich Picture Gallery in South London is to get a “Colour Palace” for its gardens next summer.

Shakespeare Schools wins Japanese arts prize

Shakespeare Schools wins Japanese arts prize

The Shakespeare Schools Foundation has won £33,000 in the Japan Art Association’s Praemium Imperiale 2018 awards.

Matthew Bourne’s tours to go green

Matthew Bourne’s tours to go green

Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures dance company is to collaborate with environmental sustainability agency Julie’s Bicycle to creative a creative green certificate for touring.

Arts centre plan for Reading Gaol

Arts centre plan for Reading Gaol

Councillors in Reading are backing a plan to turn the town’s famous jail into an arts centre.

New culture secretary appointed

New culture secretary appointed

Kenilworth MP and former Attorney General Jeremy Wright MP is the latest Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport .

THE WORD Beyond conflict - the spirit of EdFest, 70 years on

Graham Sheffield, director of arts at the British Council, on the bequest to the world
of the Edinburgh International Festival
as it celebrates its 70th birthday with the ‘Spirit of ’47’, a collaboration across this year’s programme between the festival and the council

The cultural maelstrom that envelops Edinburgh throughout August makes it easy to forget the post-war origins of this international festival. The story has often been told of what led to the selection of Edinburgh as the location (not the first choice of city - Oxford apparently was initially preferred); of the local politics which permeated the early discussions; and of the prescient choice of Rudolf Bing, an Austrian impresario from Germany, who fled the Nazi regime to unlikely success in the UK: first as the Director of Glyndebourne Festival Opera and thence to Edinburgh, to co-found - with native Scot and Director of the British Council in Scotland, Henry Harvey Wood - and direct the first Edinburgh Inter- national Festival.

This spirit of post-war international collaboration set the festival on a course which has characterised the city in August for the past 70 years, and which infuses not just the Edinburgh International Festival but all of the other myriad festivals which have blossomed from its well-established roots: the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the Edinburgh International Book Festival, the Edinburgh International Film Festival, the Edinburgh International Jazz and Blues Festival etc. All contribute to the global standing of this beautiful and ancient city, to its reputation as a platform for innovative, off-kilter arts and culture and its international, welcoming outlook.

An anniversary presents a time for comparisons, and the world of 1947 and 2017 throws up interesting contrasts and parallels. We are more aware of the positive influence that the influx of new, international minds can have on culture and society; and up to speed on the positive impact of the free movement of people and ideas across borders, not just in Europe but globally. We can look back with confidence on the origins of EIF, knowing that the impact that the nascent idea of Rudolf Bing and Henry Harvey Wood would have not just on the first festival, but on all subsequent ones.

At the same time, however, the early 21st century has brought uncertainty on a global scale – often drawing parallels with the 1930s, so far re- moved from that post-war spirit.

We have the fallout of the economic crash and old orders displaced; a tectonic shift in how, why and who communicates and who understands; economic migration and refugees. And dominating UK politics is the decision to leave the EU, raising question marks over the future freedom of movement and ideas, through students, artists and communities. The spirit of collaboration – the spirit of 1947 – which has characterised the festivals in Edinburgh for 70 years, could be in question.

This formed the backdrop for the discussions Fergus Linehan, director of Edinburgh International Festival, and I had around the British Council’s contribution to EIF’s 70th Anniversary programme. We wanted to reflect and reiterate the mission of 1947 within today’s world and with- in today’s arts landscape. “Spirit of ‘47” is the result: ten days of performances, films and discussions, with artists from Scotland, England, USA, Ukraine, Lebanon, Cuba, China, Jamaica, Palestine, Chile, Argentina, Syria, Portugal, Germany, Iran, Pakistan and India gathering in Edinburgh in August, along with the thousands of other visitors from all over the world who travel there.

In 1947 the emphasis was on reconnecting Europe, reconciling former adversaries (and allies) in a new spirit of cooperation and collaboration. The programme for the first EIF was weighted towards classical music and theatre. In 2017, however, both EIF’s and our own horizons are broader.

Spirit of ’47 will see veterans from both sides of the Falklands War talking about their experiences on stage together, in the critically acclaimed stage play by Argentinian director Lola Arias, Minefield. It will provide a platform for the Iranian director Azade Shahmiri to explore a not-too- distant dystopian future, where freedom of expression has finally been stifled, in the play Voicelessness. It will bring a group of displaced Syrian artists and lm-makers together to offer a fresh perspective on how war affects the lives of artists – and it will mark the creation of the “New European Songbook”: unique collaborations between musicians from across the continent, performed and recorded live, for a future, European-wide broadcast.

Edinburgh in August provides a gateway into the arts scene of the UK, and a representative picture of the attitudes of inclusivity, curiosity and optimism that can and must continue to characterise our arts and culture. In 1947 the festival’s founders looked at their shattered world and saw the building blocks of something better. In 2017, amid the turbulence of economics and politics, we should think of those pioneers and keep our eyes and minds open for the building blocks of today.

The Edinburgh International Festival is on until August 28 www.eif.co.uk

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