Words Of The Week – July 16th – 22nd

This week I was approached, as a fellow creative activist who comes into contact with creative risk through my profession, to attend and speak at a conference called ‘Challenging A Risk Averse Culture’.

It was a session based at Poole Museum, to discuss creative risk challenges in Dorset, amongst organisations, artists and independents, as part of the Arts Council funded ‘What Next? Rights, Risks and Reputations Ambassadors Programme’ (http://www.whatnextculture.co.uk/ambassadors-programme/).

What follows, is my creative response to the session…

Risk, the challenge. “Is that safe?” Frankly I am bored of it.

Risk to be creative. Risk to bring the next pool of great artists along.

Risk, to create a culture. Risk, to find new stories. Risk, it is worth it.
Risk, “Oh we can’t, sorry. You can’t.” Why?

“Risk is personal and will always sit differently with different people due to their current situation.”
But can’t they take a risk to get out of their current situation?
“Our personal capacity can sometimes limit us.”
Yes it can. But how do you know you’re at capacity? Shouldn’t you push your personal limit?
“We are paid to be risk averse.”
No, we are paid to be artistic leaders of Dorset. Shouldn’t Dorset have their views challenged?
“Limited time may stop us from taking risks.”
Time isn’t an issue if we work at something for 5 minutes a day. Build the fundamental foundations.
“Having a family and a mortgage might stop us from taking risks.”
In 2018, it is sad that that excuse even comes into play. Surely there is a way forward?
“Budget limitations.”
OK the money isn’t there, can you do the same idea a different way?
“Lack of confidence to take risks.”
Just say screw it, we have a greater education if we do it.

“Hosting a protest and making people angry won’t change people’s minds. It actually shuts people down. There are other ways to change people’s minds.”
Who said it was a protest and not a debate? I definitely welcome your opinion in our debate. We are just using art to discuss issues that will be very real very soon.

“Sometimes just making work is controversial.”
But what if we didn’t have art that challenges our culture? Wouldn’t that be worse?
Extraordinary work comes with a price and the “it can’t be good if it’s here” mentality.
People are hard to please. But we should still try.
How do you move forward if you don’t take risks and challenge everyone to create a culture? Why shouldn’t we use art to talk about politics, sexuality, religious beliefs, human rights, discrimination, our nation, our county, our towns, the state of communities, up skirting, Brexit, the use of language like housewife and husband, disabled people, young people that want to be drag queens, modern day slavery, wind farms in the sea and any other issues that are risky.

Shouldn’t we, as artists and producers, be trying to find the stories of the here and now? Shouldn’t we be telling these stories to make people aware of the issues that effect our community today? Being risk averse is not listening to your environment, and not listening to your environment as an artist is probably affecting your capacity to work. Yes you may need the money to be creative, but you should still listen to the world around you and respond creatively in whatever way you can. Make other voices heard. If you can’t take all the risks, don’t. Risk 5 out of 10. The outcome might be better for the future. And that’s what makes the risk worth it.

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