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Devizes Carnival 2021 photo © Festival Chronicle

Bradford talks culture and community

This article was to be entitled ‘the meaning of culture to community and business’ but that’s like saying ‘what’s the point of eating food?’

Over the years beleagured and chronically underfunded arts organisations have tried to show what montisation they bring to their community, to attract increasingly small pots of public funding and philantropy.

Proving the value of culture is a misnomer. Culture is part of who we are as human beings. Arguably culture comes from consciousness and that’s what makes us human.

So the question is not what culture does for the community, but: how good is the arts organisation who wants our money? And what community do they serve?

The discussion: what do potential funders value? Brand association? Inspires creativity? Provides entertainment? Improves our environment with a sculpture or street painting or tree planting, etc? Brings the community together in shared festival event? The keeper of our history? Is it exciting? Does it do a good job? Why this and not a running club or youth club or national charity?

Providing a platform for the discussion is this month’s Bradford Talks, by Bradford on Avon Business.

With a somewhat worthy (but understandable given the points above) title of ‘Bringing communities together through arts and culture’, Adam Laughton will ‘will highlight the importance of maintaining arts as a fixture of communities in order to improve wellbeing, cohesion and local pride’. In other words: lose it and you’ll miss it.

Adam is a busy chap as director at Frome Festival, programme manager at Wiltshire Music Centre, artistic director at Bath’s Argyle Orchestra, freelance pianist and violinist, and a football and cooking fan. He’ll know what he’s talking about.

Arts organisations need more money. Ultimately they are about quality in-person interactions, which isn’t cheap and almost impossible to monitise and quantify in £££s. They can tell you how much it costs but only you can decide how much they’re worth.

If you want to be part of the discussion – or want the confidence to support your local arts centre, music venue, festival, museum, etc – then head over to the Dandy Lion pub in Bradford on Avon for 7pm on 27th September.

Photo: Devizes Street Festival 2021, photo © Festival Chronicle