Friday, 20 August 2010

A Golden Age of Destruction

University College London is running a session of lectures in November called "A "Golden Age"? Reflections on New Labour's Cultural Policy and its Post-Recession Legacy".

Cultural Trends, the journal that champions the need for better evidence-based analyses of the cultural sector, is delighted to provide a major opportunity for researchers to consider whether what Tony Blair described as a Golden Age, in a 2007 valedictory speech at the Tate, actually existed. Questions to be considered include:
*What did it achieve?
* What might the effects of the recession on the cultural sector be in terms of changes in audiences and audience profiles, the economics of the sector and its financial impacts?
*How might government policy, and the sector itself – whether in the UK, Europe and elsewhere – assess its legacy and learn the lessons that inform a post-recession economy?
A “Golden Age”? provides the occasion for cultural commentators, policy analysts and historians to brigade the evidence for cultural achievements since 1997 and consider the relationship between culture and recessions since the 1970s. While this might appear retrospective, we are also keen to look forward and bring together ideas for the longer term impacts of what we observe and to develop hypotheses about cultural policy and activity in the future.

Well, state-supported looting of archaeological sites for collectables for entertainment and profit was instituted in 1997 with the pilot scheme of the PAS. Since then, the erosion of the archaeological record has got worse, and the wildness of the claims that this is in any way mitigated by the production of archaeological information and the "rescue" (sic) of evidence even more unbelieable. New Labour's "cultural policy" towards the buried archaeological heritage certainly seems to have been awfully wrong-headed. Let us see some proper debate on the erosive effects of the artefact hunting rather than the current "what a lot of luvverly trezures we've got hoiked out" idiocies we hear so much about instead.

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