What Trenton tells us about the Arts Council

April 11 2012

Image of What Trenton tells us about the Arts Council

Picture: Independent

It turns out that Trenton Oldfield, the loon who disrupted the Boat Race last weekend, has enjoyed funding from the taxpayer via the Arts Council. In 2009 his organisation This is Not a Gateway was awarded £4,650 by ACE to:

To contribute to the funding matrix of the second annual This Is Not A Gateway Festival. The funding will directly lead to an increase in the quality and breadth of arts activities within the 2009 festival programme. This Is Not a Gateway will facilitate the production of over 40 events to occur over three days for up to 500 audience members.

You can judge for yourself whether 500 people really did turn up here. ACE is also supporting this year's This is Not a Gateway Festival. According to ACE's website:

This Is Not A Gateway, an independent organisation that brings together critically engaged people, is seeking submissions for its 4th festival. Proposals are welcome from anybody whose point of reference is ‘the city’. 

The festival is independent, rigorous and productive - an open platform; an arena for criticality as well as propositions. As a result of the continuing actuate social, economic, democratic and spatial deficits/crisis’s and revolutions, we are seeking submissions from individuals, groups from across the globe that are addressing urgent urban questions. 

Full list of thematics can be found here: http://thisisnotagateway.squarespace.com/2012-open-call/

Submissions are sought from a lived knowledge/experience perspective, as well as from the widest range of disciplines. Previous formats have included exhibitions, roundtable discussions, soapboxes, films, walks, presentations, book and project launches. 

This Is Not A Gateway’s role is that of a facilitator. It provides the infrastructure to enable participants to hold their own activities. Support includes securing venues, equipment, publicity, audiences and installation assistance.

If anyone can tell me what any of this means, or even better, what it has to do with art, I'd be most grateful.

Update - a reader writes:

At the end of your piece on Trenton Oldfield, you ask: "If anyone can tell me ...what it has to do with art, I'd be most grateful". I can't help wondering if you're asking us whether your blog post has anything to do with art (it doesn't). There is a big difference between art and Arts, it would be a pity if you expanded into the latter category.

Of course, in the context of discussing the Arts Council I mean art as in 'the arts'. And as a former policy wonk on the arts, I'm afraid readers will have to put up with the occassional rant from me on the subject.

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