Language is Never Neutral

With Leigh French and the Variant Editorial Collective, Glasgow / 2011.

It is difficult to ignore the feeling that we are witnessing the formation of ‘legitimate’ subjects of art and culture and a re-imagining of what it means to use those very words. It is impossible to ignore the sense that this is a challenge to the diversity of cultural and therefore political expression as a democratic right. […] These responses emerge as art in practice, they are the textual imagining of the possibility of something else. Far from being a dialogue in disarray, this is a silence that is being contested.

In 2004, a then Labour-led Scottish Government set up a Cultural Commission to undertake a “thorough” review of cultural provision over a one-year period, paving the way for its radical overhaul as part of “a generational opportunity – to look seriously and maturely at our culture and decide the framework for its support in the future”. In September 2008, the SNP-led Scottish Government announced that it would be following the recommendations to set up Creative Scotland, a private company limited by guarantee, as a replacement for the Scottish Arts Council and Scottish Screen, to pursue a “creative industries” agenda. In 2011, following the eventual launch of Creative Scotland in 2010, Variant sought to proactively and collectively explore the potential impact of the changes for artistic practice, and, more broadly, for the meaning of art and culture in contemporary Scotland. You can read the resulting article, interviews and written responses below, or follow the link to download: