Art for social work’s sake

The Arts Council has denied that performers are being forced to
take on the role of social workers in the way they target
vulnerable groups of people.

The organisation’s rebuke follows remarks made by the composer
Michael Berkeley this week that it was wrong to link grants to the
political correctness of a project.

Giving the annual Royal Philharmonic Society’s lecture, Berkeley
said the “emphasis on social work rather than art is simply out of

But the Arts Council said there was “a huge appetite” from
performers who wanted to develop work in these different

The council’s head of social inclusion, Nikki Crane, said the
performers approached the council with the ideas claiming that new
audiences stimulated them artistically.

She said: “They don’t go in there with the view that they are going
to affect community cohesion or prevent offending. There may be
these outcomes but the impetus is to go in with excellent art and
engage a wider audience.”

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