Response to The Times article 28/02/20

In Charlotte Wace's recent article (28th January 2020, UK Politics) it was reported that the Arts Council will start referring to "creative practitioners" because people feel uncomfortable with the term "Artist". There was no reference to any research or consultation supporting the claim that people feel uncomfortable or excluded by reference to the term art. It was, therefore, no surprise to read that "some eyebrows were raised", I too was appalled. It appears both patronising and an affront to the myriad, diverse and complex ways in which many individual's seek to contribute to our collective cultural life. Furthermore, in no other area of social or working life would it be acceptable to delimit the self-determination of the individual's mode of self-identification; as artist etc.
It was my project, The Making of a Cultural Landscape (Moving Mountains Art) based in Millom, Cumbria that was featured in the article. It was described as exemplar of what can be achieved with a modest Grant. I therefore feel I have a responsibility to counter the Arts Council argument. I have been proud to identify as an artist throughout my working life and at no time has this been to the detriment of engagement or inclusivity. I typically work across wide ranging media and often draw in collaborative artists to widen the scope of provision associated with my work. Over many years of professional practice I have frequently worked in economically disadvantaged locations, produced events in community spaces and incorporated activities for people of all ages and abilities. It has been my experience throughout that time that participants' have approached the arts with a sense of delight and adventure. These individuals became engaged precisely because the offer of arts activity presented a break from the quotidian; something new and exotic.