Legacy art commissions from IWM’s WWI movie blockbuster

Legacy art commissions from IWM’s WWI movie blockbuster

Income from the Imperial War Museum’s 14-18-NOW film by director Peter Jackson, They Shall Not Grow Old, is to fund art commissions across the country.

Rees-Mogg may scrap Arts Council

Rees-Mogg may scrap Arts Council

Arts Council England and other national cultural organisations face being abolished as Jacob Rees-Mogg turns his attention to arm’s length government funded bodies in his review of government efficiency.

Dacs chief takes over at Whitechapel

Dacs chief takes over at Whitechapel

The new director of the Whitechapel Gallery is to be Gilane Tawadros, the CEO of Dacs, the guardian of artists’ copyright.

Nightingale Museum defies closure fears to reopen

Nightingale Museum defies closure fears to reopen

The Florence Nightingale Museum in St Thomas’s Hospital, London, which more than two years ago closed its doors with fears that it might never be able to open again, reopened yesterday on what would have been Nightingale’s 202nd birthday.

TAITMAIL   Museums of the Community Age

TAITMAIL Museums of the Community Age

“Why can’t we sit in a comfy armchair, drink coffee and chat while we look at art?” Kenneth Hudson liked to posit. “Why do we have to treat a visit to the museum as if it were a sepulchre where you have to stand in silence and awe?”

Museum of the Year 2022 shortlist of five

Museum of the Year 2022 shortlist of five

Five museums from Derby, London, Manchester, Oxford and Wrexham nave made it to the shortlist for the £100,000 2022 Art Fund Museum gif the Year award.

£23m for communities' cultural rebuild

£23m for communities' cultural rebuild

Cultural organisations across England will share £22.7m from the Arts Council’s Cultural Investment Programme to help them reset and prepare for development after the Covid lockdowns.

McBrinn leaves Clean Break for Dublin’s Gate

McBrinn leaves Clean Break for Dublin’s Gate

Joint artistic director and CEO Róisín McBrinn is leaving Clean Break Theatre after eight years with the company to become artistic director at the Gate, Dublin.

Ukrainian artist wins Royal Society portrait award

Ukrainian artist wins Royal Society portrait award

Ukrainian-born painter Tania Rivilis has won the Royal Society of Portrait Painters annual award.

THE ART OF PHOTOJOURNALISM Image of the month

THE ART OF PHOTOJOURNALISM Image of the month

Parole beer, Wakefield, 2nd May 1953, by Thurston Hopkins for Picture Post

Alan Sparrow on Thurston Hopkins

 TAITMAIL   Munnings, riding back into the light

TAITMAIL Munnings, riding back into the light

We get cynical joy out of taking apart the characters of great artists, and usually we wait until they are dead before we lay open their dark sides: Caravaggio, Turner, Millais, Eric Gill. 

Historic £6m endows musicals professor

Historic £6m endows musicals professor

A £6m donation from the Gatsby Charitable Foundation will fund a new professorship for the Royal Academy of Music.

Swallow to leave Courtauld

Swallow to leave Courtauld

Deborah Swallow, who spearheaded the biggest development in the Courtauld Institute’s history, is to retire as its director after 18 years in the post.

Davidson-Houston to be Glyndebourne’s new MD

Davidson-Houston to be Glyndebourne’s new MD

Richard Davidson-Houston, Glyndebourne’s director of audience development, is to be the opera house’s new managing director.

Doran steps down at RSC

Doran steps down at RSC

Gregory Doran has stood down as artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company with immediate effect after 35 years with the company and ten years at its head.

 TAITMAIL   The Metal in a new city’s culture

TAITMAIL The Metal in a new city’s culture

On March 1 Southend-on-Sea became a city, completing a 20-year campaign by its MP David Amess. Its qualification for city status is obscure: it has no cathedral or university, the customary prerequisites, and mostly getting cityhood does little more than feed local pride.

Actors’ Benevolent Fund under investigation

Actors’ Benevolent Fund under investigation

The Actors’ Benevolent Fund is under investigation by the Charity Commission over concerns about its governance.

British Museum urged to halt new BP deal

British Museum urged to halt new BP deal

The British Museum has been urged by a panel of scientists and climate experts to abandon plans for a renewed sponsorship deal with BP.

Rachel Thomas to be Hayward’s chief curator

Rachel Thomas to be Hayward’s chief curator

Rachel Thomas, head of exhibitions at Irish Museum of Modern Art for 20 years, is to be the chief curator at the Hayward Gallery at the Southbank Centre.

Phillipson, Pollard, Ryan and Sin Wai Kin up for Liverpool’s Turner Prize

Phillipson, Pollard, Ryan and Sin Wai Kin up for Liverpool’s Turner Prize

Four artists have been selected for the Turner Prize shortlist this year: Heather Phillipson, Ingrid Pollard, Veronica Ryan and Sin Wai Kin.

  MY STORY Kyrgizstan culture’s world premiere

MY STORY Kyrgizstan culture’s world premiere

Janet Rady, curator of the Kyrgyz Republic Pavilion at this year’s Venice Biennale

Covid bringing new audiences to music

Covid bringing new audiences to music

A report for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra shows that Covid lockdowns, while starving orchestras and musicians of much needed income, have driven new audiences to classical music.

Throwing a new light

Throwing a new light

Three lighthouses around the UK coast have been transformed by the light artist Claire Luxton in a partnership with Hendrick’s Gin.

ALRA goes bust

ALRA goes bust

The Academy of Live and Recorded Arts - ALRA – has declared itself “no longer financially viable” and has closed both its campuses in Wandsworth and Wigan with immediate effect.

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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