Monday, May 14, 2012


Wickedness and flummery!!

Why is it that when it comes to the sharp end of managing dollars for education, institutions often look first and fiercely at 'cost-effectiveness' and 'economic rationalism' to make cuts?

Why is it that the arts therefore suffers as a discipline so badly?  What happened to the cultural value of every facet of the arts and the crucial role it plays in our lives?  Where would we be without music, beauty, vision, appreciation, absorption, discussion and anarchy?  We are all exposed to aspects of art the moment we open our eyes, ears, minds.. our homes, our furniture, the sounds we hear both man-made and natural, the colours, the textures, the print material, the ideas and thoughts we have are all shaped by our surroundings and what we bring to them as humans.

Today there was a rally at the ANU to allow the community to express its outrage at the recently announced drastic funding cuts to the School of Music.  I went along to add my voice, such as it is, to the assembly.

It is a total mystery to me that a Power That Be is prepared to put a cost on the value of teaching music.  Or, more to the point, to put a cost on TAKING AWAY resources and opportunities from within the school.  How can the PTB calculate the value of this?

There is a whole huge debate about the specifics, and what the vision is and could be, for the School. I won't get into that. I just want to have my say about the mystery of why economics and debt and business management are somehow the driving forces behind providing cultural capital, which is a concept not a service or a sale-able article.  I'm sure that the hard-working students who take on law, or computer science, or physics are perfectly able to work with concepts and apply them to how we as humans live and interact with each other and the environment.  So why is there this bias?  I don't suppose any of us would easily throw away the rights and protection we have in law; would truly like to try to live in today without the help of computers and programming and all the millions of ways they facilite processes; would prefer to throw away the collective value of learning in any discipline.  What we don't directly experience is not cultural refuse!


I saw this today and it sums up quite a lot of what I think and feel about this:

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