Thursday, July 20, 2017

Civilisation, Cultures and Collaboration - the BBC Arts Agenda

Civilisation, Cultures and Collaboration seem to be the dominant themes of plans for the arts - and art - on the BBC in 2017/18 - as indicated in the BBC Annual Plan for 2017/18
The BBC’s mission in arts has always been to nurture artists and organisations, create great art and engage the widest possible spectrum of audiences. 

Highlights for Art on the BBC

The Brexit Lesson has been well and truly learned by the chattering classes amongst the London Elite at BBC Centre!
The BBC is determined to rise to the challenge of better reflecting and representing a changing UK. The biggest investment in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland for decades has recently been announced and will be implemented over the next three years. BBC publishes Annual Plan for 2017/18
Key points are:
  • Culture UK and Collaboration - Recent launch of 
    • an ambitious new Culture UK partnership with the British Council, the Arts Councils of England, Northern Ireland and Wales, and Creative Scotland with a view to energising audiences, artists and the creative industries across the UK. You can read more about Culture UK here
Culture UK represents an unprecedented new level of collaboration for the BBC, and it will deliver at least three big landmark moments a year, starting this autumn with poetry.
Culture UK - Looking very white, very middle aged and very middle class!

Darren Henley (Chief Executive of Arts Council England), Jenny Niven (Creat)ive Scotland), Tony Hall (Director of the BBC), Jonty Claypole (Director of BBC Arts), Nick Capaldi (Chief Executive, Arts Council of Wales) and Noireen Mckinney (Director of Arts Development, Arts Council of Northern Ireland)
"We’ve come together because we want the UK to be the most culturally engaged and creative country in the world, where everybody, wherever they come from, can take part. There are real challenges that make working together more necessary and more urgent than ever. Culture is one of the things that unites us all and expresses our identity. We ignore that at our peril.” Tony Hall, Director of the BBC
    • a £4m Artists First commissioning budget and change to how the BBC commissions arts programming - to enable the BBC to be more open to artists and arts organisations.
  • Civilisations – a major season across television, radio and online telling the story of art from the dawn of human history to the present day, for the first time on a global scale. This will 
    • A landmark nine-part series on BBC Two - remaking the original version and adding in civilisations from Asia to the Americas, Africa as well as Europe.
    • accompanied by programming on BBC Four, BBC Radio 3 and BBC Radio 4 - as well as digital partnerships with cultural organisations across the UK.
Civilisations will explore the visual culture of societies from around the globe, revealing alongside the magnificent objects made in the West the wealth of treasures created by other cultures, from the landscape scrolls of classical China and the sculpture of the Olmecs to African bronzes, Japanese prints and Mughal miniatures.
Civilisations will have three presenters, each bringing their own skills and perspectives to the series:

  • Simon Schama, an art historian with a breadth of experience and authority second to none, will present six programmes, reflecting the wide-ranging nature of his expertise and his extensive knowledge of global art
  • Mary Beard, the well-known Cambridge classicist, will present two programmes which put the art and culture of ancient Greece and Rome into a much wider context, using early material from China, Iran and Mexico
  • Historian and writer David Olusoga, who is also making two programmes, will call upon his expertise in Empire, military history and the relationships between global cultures
David Olusoga, Mary Bear and Simon Schama
  • BBC Two will also celebrate 
    • the 250th anniversary of the Royal Academy and 
    • the art of Picasso. 
  • Continuing to showcase Hull as the UK City of Culture 2017 over the coming months, with hundreds of hours of coverage of Hull 2017
  • Regular programming
    • Saturday nights on BBC Two will be the new focal point for arts built around a key 9pm slot with a landmark documentary or collaboration 
    • Topical arts programmes across BBC Radio include Front Row and regular coverage on TV programming through shows like Artsnight. 
    • Landmark content includes significant artist-led documentaries or profiles such as Imagine... 
    • a further series of the popular Fake or Fortune strand will return to BBC One.
The above comes from Media Packs published by the BBC - explaining its Annual Plan and Culture UK

Personally, it seems to me that the hand of Nicholas Serota - now the NEW CEO of the Arts Council - can be seen all over the plans for Culture UK although he doesn't get a mention in this plan or announcements.

However back in the 2015 Plan he is quoted as follows
This partnership will give audiences, people in this country and an international audience, an unprecedented opportunity to see work by major companies, by emerging companies, and by young artists. It’s a great platform to show what’s vital, exciting and special about what’s happening in the United Kingdom today
Sir Nicholas Serota, (then) Director, Tate
However he was talking about "The Ideas Service" a new UK Arts Platform. I'm just left wondering if this morphed into Culture UK?

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