Arts and Society: Introduction

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In this time of cuts and retreating government there is a serious reassessment going on about the place of the arts in society. Many of the libraries, museums and galleries people have taken for granted are being scaled back or cut entirely. It is important to ask why the arts are important and whether they should be funded by the state. It is also useful to look at the arts on a wider level. A lot of claims and accusations are made of this realm of life. Some people say that films and games make us bad people, that libraries are pointless, that opera should be made accessible to the public and that our education system should be overhauled.  In this issue of Canvas we look at arts and society and we explore all of these questions.

This issue of Canvas has articles that survey protest music, museums, crafts and libraries. One article looks at Michael Gove’s plans for the English Baccalaureate and why it is a good thing that they have been withdrawn. Another article argues that the music of N-Dubz has a greater right to be funded by the state than opera. All these articles are worth reading and I urge you that if you agree or disagree or simply want to add your own thoughts to the debate, please leave a comment or two on the articles you read. Canvas wants debate and discussion, and the topic of arts and society is surely in need of it.

Ben Mackay


1. The Death of Art and Crafts, George Richards

2. Video games tend to have a bad press, James Wilson

3. Is protest music still significant?, Christy McMorrow

4. ‘You Can Draw, but You’re Still Stupid': Why the retraction of the English Baccalaureate is a positive step for culture, Simon Renwick

5. What Price to Maintain the ‘Cathedrals of Culture’?, Chris Olewicz

6. If we’re going to fund the arts, I’d rather give a tenner to Dappy than Debussy, David Jeffery

7. Libraries: Hallmarks of community life, Ben Mackay

8. A Funny Thing Happened to Me as I Left the Opera, Chris Olewicz