A Third Text Report Compiled and Edited by Richard Appignanesi
Third Text, London, 2011. ISBN: 978-0-947753-11-5
This special Third Text Report, commissioned by Arts Council England, offers a new concept of creative diversity to promote a culturally integrated British society. It proposes a radical shift of historical perspective in a 10-point programme of institutional, educational and policy reforms to develop a culturally whole Britain.
The Report bases its case on a model of creativity and diversity already seen in British art after World War II. African, African Caribbean and Asian artists contributed decisively to the modernist canon of British art between the 1950s to the 1970s. This model of so-called ‘ethnically diverse’ artists working interactively within the British mainstream has been woefully ignored. The Report restores it to the centre stage of Britain’s cultural heritage.
Beyond Cultural Diversity marks a first significant advance since Naseem Khan’s 1976 report The Arts Britain Ignores. Thirty years on and the question is even more urgent. What is the rightfully creative place of our ethnic communities in Britain’s contemporary culture?
Beyond Cultural Diversity is a platform of independent views expressed by cultural practitioners from institutions such as art colleges, Tate Britain and the Arts Council, to explore the future of creative diversity. Their proposals for a simultaneously diverse and integral public culture deserve our serious consideration.
‘This ground-breaking report is an antidote to the Coalition government’s unprecedented assault on public culture’, says Professor Ziauddin Sardar, Chair of the Third Text Trustees.
Munira Mirza, Mayoral Advisor on Arts and Culture, Mayoral Office, Greater London Authority, says: ‘This is a collection of eloquent and intelligent essays which tackle the important issue of diversity in the arts. I agree with the authors that black artists are often hemmed in by (well-intentioned) policies, and we need to focus more on creativity and artistic freedom.’
Tony Panayiotou, Director of Diversity at Arts Council England, says: ‘In this publication, we reposition the argument that previously focused almost exclusively on a lack of opportunity, fairness and equality in the arts for Black, minority ethnic and disabled artists. Whilst not ignoring that inequality, Beyond Cultural Diversity initiates a new dialogue that places work by such artists within the historical mainstream and recognizes their valuable contribution to the shaping of modern British culture and art.’
Richard Appignanesi is an editor of Third Text and reviews editor of the future studies journal Futures. He was a co-founder and editorial director of Writers & Readers Publishing Co-operative and Icon Books. He has served as a curator, lecturer and conference organiser for the British Council. He is the author of the fiction trilogy Italia Perversa: Stalin’s Orphans, The Mosque and Destroying America (1983–1985), the novel Yukio Mishima’s Report to the Emperor (2003) and other non-fiction writings.