10 Arguments for the Arts

21st September 2009 by Maura McHugh

Those of us looking to construct an argument about the relevancy of the Arts to society would be well advised to notice that the Council of Europe recognises this vital connection, and funds an organisation, Culture Watch Europe (CWE), whose remit is “the presentation and exchange of information and good practice in the broad sectors of culture and cultural and natural heritage. Based on the Organisation’s fundamental principles of human rights, democracy and the rule of law, CWE offers an innovative and evidence-based understanding of cultural and heritage developments in Europe.”

It offers a document called “Culture: A Tool For Reversing Recession: Ten Arguments For Use By Ministers”.

This paper sets out ten arguments that Ministers of Culture can use in discussions with their colleagues – especially Finance and Prime ministers – when annual budgets come under scrutiny. It suggests reasons why cultural investment can be an important tool in combating the effects of recession and – perhaps more importantly – leading the way back to prosperity. The arguments also help Ministers of Culture make common cause with those responsible for employment generation, social cohesion, security and education. Every country will have its own examples and statistics to back up the arguments. Similarly each can develop new proposals based on them for restructuring and regeneration. The arguments are as useful at the intergovernmental, regional and local levels as they are at the national. Indeed they can be part of any municipality’saction plan.

I think it’s wonderful for the EU to offer us this coherent strategy for combating budget cuts in relation to culture. If European ministers can use these arguments, so can you!

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