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During a challenging funding climate and in an era of evidence-based policy-making, claims abound surrounding the tangible and intangible benefits of public art. The instrumentalisation of cultural policy towards wider policy objectives – such as economic growth, social inclusion, health and wellbeing – creates alternative funding opportunities but poses also crucial questions. Munira Mirza contends that the agenda of social policy usually results in a culture of mediocrity. But is this always the case? And, if so how can artists and policy-makers work together to counter it? What should the role of public art be in these challenging times? Our feature, the text-based artwork Statement of the Obligations and Non-Obligations of Public Art by Ruth Barker will hopefully raise some critical questions for you and encourage you to contribute to our related dialogue considering whether public art, by virtue of its publicness or its existence as art, has any obligations and, if so, to whom.
Ruth Barker is a Glasgow-based artist whose recent work is primarily textual and performance based. She graduated from Glasgow School of Art in 2001 with a first class BA (Hons) in Environmental Art and completed her MFA there in 2004. Ruth will be the new Leverhulme Artist in Residence with the Centre for Interdisciplinary Artefact Studies from Spring 2010. For further information see our Project pages.
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