A strategy for culture : five nation study of arts support systems
This thesis seeks to apply some concepts and theories from predominantly post 1960 research in organisational behaviour to the study of the Arts Council as reflected through its policies, in the belief that few, if any, real attempts have thus far been made by academics to relate some of the profound difficulties of the public administration of the art to this branch of the sciences. The project is based on an examination of the assumption with which the Arts Council historically has justified both its general operations and its particular decisions. A close examination is made of past and recent statements of policy (I am assuming that administrators often make policy and advise in the making of policy and am treating decision making and policy making as synonymous for purposes of this thesis), the main aim being to identify the various ideological and structural determinants which bear upon decision making processes necessary for a subsequent evaluation of the various representative systems. These determinants vary from political pressures to aesthetic preconceptions, and overt to covert hierarchical power structures within the framework. Specific areas of concern have revolved around the problems of co-ordination, accountability and control of public subsidy to the arts and in particular, what model or models of organisational structure and decision-making processes might successfully reconcile traditional cultural criteria and alternative contemporary conceptions of artistic and cultural development and worth, including all current non-art criticism. In particular, the research has focused on what might be termed the Arts Council's 'secondary accountabilities-' (the word 'accountability' is usually only used when explaining its formal relationships with Government), in respect to artistic standards, artists and members of the general public. This is accountability imposed from 'below" the quango, a relatively undeveloped concept which this thesis examines in much greater detail. My points are illustrated by an examination of the policies of the arts agencies in Great Britain, New Zealand, Australia, America and Canada. Further comparisons are made between the Arts Council of Great Britain and Sports Council of this country in view of the proposals in New Zealand and Australia for a more integrated policy framework based on concepts of recreation and leisure which could result in a new Department of Recreation, Arts and Sport whose primary function would be to develop a national recreation policy to allow for coordinated development of all aspects of recreation, arts and sport. The examination is made largely from the point of view of organisation theory. For while I believe the cultural debate outlined in chapter one represents the crucial question for arts councils to resolve, organisation theory fortuitously illustrates these larger issues and also suggests some means of resolving the conflict between public accountability and responsibility to the development of the arts.