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.

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