Over a distinguished career in cultural leadership, management and journalism spanning almost 30 years, John Tusa has amassed a unique experience of the arts world, the political controversies it faces and the battles it continues to fight. His new book is a fearless and passionate defence of the performing and visual arts at a time of increasing 'Pain in the Arts.' Tusa explains how the arts are run and why they are worth speaking up for. He addresses the controversies in the arts that must be resolved today: should they be useful before they are excellent? Can they ever turn their backs on the past if they are to be creative in the present? He offers guidance on how the arts can survive in a downturn and why they should always make the case that they deserve special treatment. He also draws on his five years to date as Chair of the Clore Leadership Programme to discuss the increasingly complex questions- practical, personal, professional- that today's and tomorrow's cultural leaders must face, including the qualities of character needed to succeed and what a revolution in arts leadership might achieve. He also reveals the pitfalls of managerialist language. The backdrop throughout is John Tusa's personal story of discovery and love of the culture he strives to defend in hard times.
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'I have always admired John's fearless pursuit of clarity and this book is a dose of smelling salts thrust under the nose of the body cultural. He has a great instinct for coining or spotting the telling phrase that cuts through the fog of obfuscation and self delusion that so often cloaks arts policy. His analysis of the often unconsciously deceptive language used around arts organisations is as amusing as it is timely. He is a champion of the arts who unusually is able to combine a celebratory love of its productions with unflinchingly honest appraisal of its organisations.' Grayson Perry 'The Arts are necessary and important. They have been doing well in the UK but will undoubtedly face some big challenges in the future. Clear thinking and strong leadership will be required. John Tusa, characteristically articulate and provocative, provides a real stimulus for the thinking which is needed.' - Vernon Ellis (Chair of the British Council) 'This is an important book: not only for its page turning personal account of turbulent times, but also in the insights and challenges offered - reminding all who work in the arts of the need to be sure of our first principles and to defend them resolutely.' - Alan Davey (Chief Executive, the Arts Council) 'It's essential this book is read by anyone in the arts or passionate about the arts. As the inspirational director of the Clore Leadership Programme he is nurturing the talented young people who will ensure this country continues to have world beating arts and culture. His writing is wise, insightful ... And fun.' Tony Hall, Director-General of the BBC 'Simultaneously arts boss and iconoclast, John Tusa is a lifelong scourge of meddling politicians who think the arts are Covent Garden and that targets make good symphonies. His third book on the subject, the fruit of his own years running the Barbican and the Clore Leadership programme, is brilliant on the way artists got to grips with the managerial culture of the Blair years, learnt its good skills and then turned its arid instrumentalism on its head. Essential reading for any council contemplating scrapping its culture budget. Liz Forgan, former Chair, Arts Council England
About John Tusa
John Tusa is Chair of the Clore Leadership Programme in the arts. His many senior positions in journalism and the arts include Managing Director of BBC World Service and of the Barbican Centre in London (1995-2007). Before moving into arts management, he was an award-winning BBC TV and radio journalist, most notably for BBC's 'Newsnight'. His books include Art Matters and Engaged with the Arts (both I.B. Tauris). John Tusa was knighted in 2003.
Table of Contents
Preface Part One: Getting Things Done Introduction to Part One Ch 1 Pain in the Arts: Decline or Renewal Ch 2 Surviving the Downturn Ch 3 The Case for the Arts Ch 4 Mind your Language - Alphabets of Abomination Ch 5 Learning on the Job - A Personal Road to Responsibility Ch 6 The Do's and Don'ts of Running the Arts Ch 7 The Leader, the Manager - What's the Difference? Ch 8 What do you Know? - Inside the Mind of a Leader Ch 9 An Arts Policy for a Floating Utopia Ch 10 Keeping Things Simple Part Two: Arguing for the Arts Ch 11 Introduction to Part Two Ch 12 `If Music is the Staff of Life, Play Up!': Who is Playing Whom? Ch 13 The Great Arts Education Debate: Slam the Door on the Past - Betray the Future Ch 14 A Special Case for Treatment: Special Pleading for the Arts Ch 15 The Arts and Civil Society: Standing Up to the Stand Off-ish Ch 16 The Arts and Humanities: Defending the Undefendable Ch 17 An Agenda for the Future: Making the Arts Matter Index
Pain in the Arts by John Tusa
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