Arts policy, Orwell and the culture of control

The Department of Arts is using the language of business to force artists who get public funding to donate their labour to local educational initiatives, writes Ciarán Benson.

18th May, 2013
Jimmy Deenihan should just let arts agencies get on with their work. Photo: Photocall

Last Monday, I found myself on RTE's Arts Tonight programme telling the Minister for Arts, Jimmy Deenihan, that the central idea supporting his initiative on arts education was Orwellian.

I was thinking of the public service education dividend, a key element of the new arts in education charter. This is minister Deenihan's initiative, and was drafted by his department.

As author of the 1979 Arts Council report on the place of the arts in Irish...

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