Wednesday, 9 January 2008
Disturbing Changes at the British Council
The British Council is destroying itself from inside. Right now a bureaucratic conspiracy is unfolding to abolish its arts departments (film, drama, dance, literature, design, and the visual arts), and replace them with ‘cultural diplomacy’ - whatever that means. What could be more culturally diplomatic, in real terms, than the sixty exhibitions a year for which the visual art department is discreetly responsible, taking British art all over the world, from the Venice Biennale to Tehran and Beijing. Repercussions go way beyond the art world. Like the BBC, the British Council has national cultural importance: in the current global political climate, its aim to promote British culture abroad is as crucial as ever. These furtive, idiotic bureaucrats have to be called to account.