The Less Bad News
I will touch on yesterday's spending review, but unfortunately laws on council publicity preclude me from giving a full and frank opinion here. I spent a big chunk of yesterday on arts related matters, meeting early on with Sally Macdonald, Director of the Museum of Science and Industry, for a catch-up on developments there. There will be an amazing new temporary exhibition space in the underused 1848 warehouse coming soon, but that's just a small part of the progress the museum has been making under the stewardship of the Science Museum Group.
Later in the morning I went to the Arts Council's offices at the Hive in the Northern Quarter for a meeting of their North Area Council. The main discussion was about how the Arts Council might deal with expected funding cuts, although many of the ideas generated are things we probably ought to be doing anyway. Good job really as by the end of the discussion we were just finding out that the Arts Council had got a reasonably good settlement in the CSR. Wish the rest of us had been so lucky.
I went from the Arts Council to the Whitworth where I was speaking at a Tate Plus conference on the economy and Manchester's arts ecology. I have written previously and often of the many direct and indirect economic benefits of a strong cultural sector, something Manchester has invested in seriously for over twenty years (Bridgewater Hall completed 1996 for example) so I won’t dwell further on it here.
During the course of the afternoon another piece of good news filtered through, that the Factory, when built, will be getting a serious slug of revenue funding, and this was coupled with the announcement that OMA had been appointed as project architects, though as I was on the jury I already knew that. Of course and I don't want to seem churlish, if we hadn't been cut by £250m per year, with more to come, we could fund all of this ourselves.