Voices

These letters were published in the 26th December edition of the Independent

Holly Williams: Arts Council Cuts - a blow for rural areas

I grew up in rural mid Wales, and there wasn’t a lot to do; the cinema on a Friday night (and that was half an hour’s drive away), and the pub when you’re almost old enough (we’d willingly walk half an hour along muddy tracks).

The Arts Diary: Eye of the storm

Francis Alÿs, the Belgian-born artist who lives in Mexico, and whose oeuvre has just become the subject of a Tate Modern exhibition, told me he spent 10 years running into tornados that swirl around the outskirts of Mexico City to create a new film work, unveiled at the London gallery, but stopped after realising it was just getting too dangerous. "I spent about three weeks every year in the tornado season doing it but a lot of the material was too damaged to be used. I blew six cameras over that time because of the extremely thin dust particles that got into them." When asked what kind of body armour he worked in to protect himself from the violent conditions, he answered: "Um, a scarf around my neck."

Win the 15 books up for The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize - and a bottle of Tattinger champagne!

The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, supported by Arts Council England in association with Champagne Taittinger, celebrates an exceptional work of fiction by a living author which has been translated into English from any other language and published in the UK.

David Lister: Tough questions, but still no answers

In the midst of world-shattering events and important political debates, a little-noticed but fascinating question was asked in the House of Commons the other day. The Labour MP Tom Watson asked the arts minister which private members' clubs used by Arts Council staff and board members are funded by the council.

Artist to have an epileptic fit live on stage

Sufferers' charities express concern over deliberately voyeuristic project that has received an Arts Council grant

Cultural Olympiad 'will be a fiasco as big as Dome', says Tory spokesman

Shadow culture minister expresses his fears for the future of £80m project

Adrian Hamilton: This redefines art, but not in a good way

There are two simple rules of public patronage of the arts. One is that, if you do it for a social or political purpose, it will fail. And the second is that if you hand over the actual commissioning to the Arts Council it will produce the very worst art.

The man who set sail on an island... and other works chosen for the Cultural Olympiad

Arifa Akbar examines how Britain hopes to inspire the world in 2012

Cultural Olympiad projects announced

Some might regard a cash injection of £5.4m into the Olympic Games to be best spent on Britain's competing athletes in preparation for 2012.

Letters: Sir Thomas Legg and expenses

Three cheers for Legg – a truly independent man

Simon Carr: Unelected, yes, but very handy for passing the buck

Sketch: One interesting thing was said, but I don't think he had wanted to say it

Creative Britain must be kept in good health

The departing Culture Secretary Andy Burnham says we cannot afford to waste the creative talent of a new generation

North is the poor relation in spending on the arts

Arts funders are propping up a system in which grants are skewed heavily in favour of London's museums and galleries to the exclusion of any other part of the country, figures have revealed.

Madame de Sade, Wyndham's Theatre, London

All silk skirt and no knickers

Philip Hensher: So sharp they've cut themselves

Tragic news from the coalface. Arts administrators for Arts Council England (ACE) are facing a grim future as their traditional occupations have been declared to be no longer economic.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us