Manchester City Council

Unblocking the drain

Almost without precedent, a day almost without any formal meetings

although I do have the joy of Blackley and Broughton Constituency Labour Party's AGM at 8 this evening. Perhaps a chance to ruminate on B of the Bang - not in any great detail as those of you want that can find it in the committee report available elsewhere on this website - but a chance to talk about the principles of public investment in art and culture in general and public art in particular. I liked B of the Bang. I liked its location. Many other people liked it and some people didn't. Those are all matters of individual taste and everybody is entitled to their own view. One of the many good things about the B of the Bang was that everybody who saw it did have a view, it generated discussion and debate, it made that corner of East Manchester distinctive, special even.

Some politicians have suggested that we shouldn't be investing in art at all. No doubt they would want us to close down all our galleries and museums, cut off all the grants to arts and cultural organisations, and stop teaching art and music in our schools at the same ime. The money for B of the Bang they say , and it wasn't the Council's money by the way, should have been invested in other things like improved housing or other local amenities. I want to make three comments on that. Firstly, of course people should have good homes, good schools, safe and healthy neighbourhoods etc,etc but the quality of life we aspire to in Manchester is far more than that and arts and culture are part of what makes a healthy and civilised society. Secondly, the creative industries have been a major growth area over the last few years and Manchester has had above average growth - that means jobs! Working with world-renouned artists like Thomas Heatherwick, bold statements like B of the Bang help deliver the message that Manchester is a place for artists, for creative people to live and work. Finally this isn't either/or. We are building wonderful new schools all over Manchester, we are investing many millions in housing, in libraries, in the environment but if we only invested in the basics what a sad and miserable place the city would be.

Unblocking the drain? Outside my kitchen window and that was the first job of the day

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There are 3 responses to “Unblocking the drain ”

  1. Penny McDonald Says:

    I love B of the Bang and am sure there are ways of making it safe without compromising its innovative structure. I quite agree that we should invest in buying art, and in teaching it. After all, Manchester was at one time famous for its artists and art schools. Alas that so much money has been cut from the Council's budget for the provision of art classes in the adult education sector. Only courses with a certificate and resulting job opportunities are available these days, nothing purely for leisure and relaxation. The pleasure we get from making and viewing beautiful objects is surely something to be encouraged in these dark financial times.

  2. Andy Davison Says:

    It's wonderful to hear such a considered and thoughtful response on the subject of B of the Bang. I personally believe that the council's decision to dismantle is the correct one at this time, despite the fact that I will very much miss its presence.

    B of the Bang is a stunning icon for Manchester, and one that has been taken to many people's hearts. I very much look forward to its return and hope that the country's most unique and striking sculpture won't have to spend too long in storage before being seen again.

  3. mrs fillingham Says:

    b bang what a waste of time and money. its ugly.should have chosen something to show the beauty of manchester.not a rusty unsafe piece of crap .



The blog of the leader of Manchester City Council, Councillor Richard Leese.

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