Public Wisdom means let’s all know it.

conway hall conway hall 2

The problem is that you’re too white.

The problem is that you’re too middle-class.

The thing is that you need to define the words “arts” and “art”.

Cubitt Education put on a mammoth day of speakers. entertainment and free food to promote arts in the built urban environment and how those art programmes or  projects do any good for impoverished, inarticulate, lonely, depressed and isolated old people often in residential homes, high rise flats, badly designed places. Evidence has it that those post-retirement age people think they’re invisible to the rest of the world.

Let’s not have an image of a victim in our heads. eh?

Today started on the premise that many older people feel isolated and invisible because the built environment is not old-age friendly so going out is a challenge. We even explored the plight of the older generation in Japan.

But hey! Many seniors don’t feel they were kicked onto any scrapheap. I can’t speak for the Japanese.

There’s a familiar notion here that like nursery managers perceiving their clients, parents are the inadequates, so older people are seen in that way too. Older people who have worked, shaped society, raised families on tuppence and shivered in gas metered rooms. Give them some arts experience and they’ll get better.  Give them a reason to cuddle their concrete environment and they’ll feel they are part of the local neighbourhood. I am not convinced at all. I know some others at Conway Hall felt the same.

So on stage we had practitioners in the arts, artists, ethnologists, carer managers, project managers, recipients of fat Lottery and Heritage Lottery money and they all talked or acted out like there were no people in the audience, the white sea, who went along as Jill Public to the showcased social engagement projects. We clients were not surprised at the amount of strange art/arts projects all filmed and then lo and behold the next step becomes typically the setting up of an internet radio station. Have you , reader, heard any of those?

The audience included arts practitioners, artists, project managers and researchers. How do I know? Up Your Street subscribers dip into many projects and clock who’s running them. We eat sleep and wake up to oral history under the heritage banner , do interviews, get filmed and talk on the radio shows. We always evaluate gloriously so that others get a chance to experience the temporary uplifting experience before moving on to the next idea generated by youngsters around sugar paper and brainstorming tables.

Lately we project prawns have been saturated with arts adventures then forgotten. We enter worlds of another language, think we’re being valued, dabble in technology and modernity then after the last session we are expendable.

So the best question from the floor was “What is the legacy of the art projects for the communities they’ve engaged?” And that question came from a trustee of the organisation working with Cubitt Education. Could have been staged.

Another great airing from the floor was that communities are created to keep people in and others out.

All my eddicashun was coming from the floor, Gradgrind.

Now the day was extremely well organised thanks to the detail magnifying Daniel. Charlene on the door was the best thing there with an efficient manner and a warm greeting.

Jezza’s on whereas my head is still trying to come to terms with my irritation of the content today Arts practitioners have a vested interest in perpetuating arts wherever and grabbing a target audience. I appreciate that: Business is business. I hate all the assumptions including the one that older people are chintzy (sic) and that white English shove their grannies into old people’s homes. Heard that last one  many times and been offended by the sweeping statements.

Bravo Cubitt Education


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