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Where our money goes...

To send artists to Antarctica:

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the purpose was of the grant in aid arts award of £10,000 to the British Antarctic Survey; and if she will make a statement. [120222]

Mr. Lammy: Arts Council England provides a grant of £10,000 (which increased to £12,000 this year) annually to the British Antarctic Survey to cover a stipend award to the artists participating in the Artists and Writers in Antarctica Programme. The aim of this BAS programme is to raise awareness and understanding of the extensive scientific research it undertakes in Antarctica. This award covers the costs of travel to and from the Falklands, accommodation, medical examinations and support for the artists towards exhibitions and outreach work.

Erm, what is an artist likely to be able to do to advance understanding of scientific research? I do feel sorry for the scientists suffering the company of any artists who make it out there. Quite apart from the inevitable moaning and endless anecdotage, there might be outbreaks of performance art, difficulties in finding a use for anything other than white oil paint and grossly contrived rhymes for Antarctica.

Meanwhile, at the risk of making life for the good people at
Rothera
quite unbearable, I nominate Harold Pinter as a suitable candidate - long pause - for the next jaunt.

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Blogger CityUnslicker said... 12:54 pm

This is great. As you imply, there is no necessity here to send out a painter. Clearly a performance artist could learn about the scientific achievements and come back to inform the populace in a one man show or through some performance art.

I think this service would best led by Dawn French. perhaps she could stay in the antarctic for a few months to really get to understand her subject matter.  



Anonymous verity said... 2:03 pm

Oh, no! Performance art and no escape in the Antartic snow caps! Still, it shouldn't be too hard to bury a body in all those vast snowdrifts ...

Dawn French. Hmmmmm. Yes .... Are there any whales in the area with whom she could commune?  



Blogger Doctor Syn said... 5:06 pm

Erm, what is an artist likely to be able to do to advance understanding of scientific research?

Rather like "dancing about architecture"?  



Blogger Croydonian said... 5:24 pm

Indeed Dr S, indeed. Although stranger things have been known - the Dutch Arts Council equivalent used to pay stipends to 'living sculptures'.

And a resounding 'amen' to sending La French to Terra Australis, although that would call for not so much the bending of the concept of art as snapping it in two, rinsing, repeating....  



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