Johnson plea: Don’t sacrifice creative industries

Johnson plea: Don’t sacrifice creative industries

One of the first letters in the new prime minister’s in-tray will be from Alan Bishop, CEO of the Creative Industries Federation, demanding a second referendum to save the creative industries.

Women gaining level playing field - review

Women gaining level playing field - review

Women in the creative industries are gradually winning a level playing field in the way their work is reported on, but there is still a hill to climb (#shesaidmore).

THE WORD   Easing the stress for new arts leaders

THE WORD Easing the stress for new arts leaders

Next month the first recipients of Arts Council England’s new Transforming Leadership Fund will be announced. Here, ACE’s executive director of communication and public policy Mags Patten discusses how talent training can ease the strain on emerging leaders

Dickens ‘lost portrait’ saved

Dickens ‘lost portrait’ saved

A portrait of Charles Dickens as a young man has been saved from export.

No-Deal Brexit threatens UK agency’s Europe role

No-Deal Brexit threatens UK agency’s Europe role

The UK cultural development agency ArtReach has won a €1.3m grant to deliver a Europe-wide arts project – on condition there is no No-Deal Brexit.

TAITMAIL  Drawing out the real we

TAITMAIL Drawing out the real we

At this existential moment for us as a nation, there’s an interesting exhibition opening in Hull soon that tries to pin down who we are.

Cancer forces Sarah Connolly to cancel Prom

Cancer forces Sarah Connolly to cancel Prom

Dame Sarah Connolly, the mezzo-soprano, has had to withdraw from a Proms performance and a forthcoming ENO production because of recently diagnosed cancer.

Tates declare ‘climate emergency’

Tates declare ‘climate emergency’

The directors of the four Tate galleries - Tate Britain, Tate Modern, Late Liverpool and Tate St Ives - have declared a climate emergency.

Who are we?

Who are we?

Through 130 works of art, Hull’s Ferens Art Gallery will try to pin down the British character at a time when national identity is proving to be elusive.

British Museum trustee resigns

British Museum trustee resigns

A trustee has resigned from the British Museum board over the institution’s “immovability on issues of critical concern”.

Kerry Bishop leaves Frieze for ICA

Kerry Bishop leaves Frieze for ICA

Kerry Bishop, chief operating officer at Frieze since 2013, is leaving to become managing director of the Institute of Contemporary Arts.

Vicky Cheetham to be Tate’s new COO

Vicky Cheetham to be Tate’s new COO

Victoria Cheetham, executive director of the Southbank Centre, is to be Tate’s new chief operating officer.

V&A to defy Iran sanctions with exhibition

V&A to defy Iran sanctions with exhibition

The Victoria & Albert Museum is to mount a major exhibition  about Iran’s art and design, in the face of a growing crisis between Britain, the US and Iran.

Royal Exchange picks joint artistic directors

Royal Exchange picks joint artistic directors

Roy Alexander Weise and Bryony Shanahan are to be the joint artistic directors and CEOs of the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester.

British Museum backs BP

British Museum backs BP

The British Museum’s director is backing BP as a sponsor amid growing pressure on arts institutions to distance themselves from the oil company.

Moon – or balloon? Horniman plastics poser

Moon – or balloon? Horniman plastics poser

One of the most popular aquarium displays at the Horniman Museum in South-East London is the moon jellyfish, common in the waters around Britiain.

‘Don’t be arts job cheats’ employers told

‘Don’t be arts job cheats’ employers told

A new toolkit aims to remove socio-economic barriers to jobs in the arts sector that are causing a class crisis.

Jerwood becomes Hastings Contemporary, the beach gallery

Jerwood becomes Hastings Contemporary, the beach gallery

The Jerwood Gallery, opened in 2012 and purpose-built on the historic waterfront Stade at Hastings to hold the Jerwood Foundation’s collection of British Art, reopens tomorrow (July 6) as Hastings Contemporary.

Historic Wales wins Art Fund £100k prize

Historic Wales wins Art Fund £100k prize

St Fagans, Wales’s national museum of history near Cardiff, last won the £100,000 Art Fund Museum of the Year award.

New Museum of London cost leaps to £332m

New Museum of London cost leaps to £332m

The cost of transplanting the Museum of London from London Wall to a converted meat market at Farringdon has leaped to £332m, £80m more than had previously been projected.

THE ART OF PHOTOJOURNALISM Image of the month

THE ART OF PHOTOJOURNALISM Image of the month

Edith Piaf in White Dress, Paris, 1950, by Marilyn Stafford

London’s £1.1bn East Bank under way

London’s £1.1bn East Bank under way

Work has begun on the cultural centre in the former Olympic Park at Stratford, East London.

Changes at Opera North

Changes at Opera North

New artistic director appointed after two year gap

Russell Tovey curates Margate festival

Russell Tovey curates Margate festival

The actor Russell Tovey, most recently seen in the BBC drama serial Years and Years, is to be the guest curator for the Margate NOW festival.

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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