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

Get dancing for a happier (and longer) life

Get jiggy. It might seem an unlikely message to come from the Government, but boosted by the appeal of shows such as Strictly Come Dancing, dance is being increasingly promoted as a way to sashay to good health.

David Lister: The Arts Council has had its day

Congratulations to Dame Liz Forgan, right, on being appointed the new chairman of the Arts Council. The former head of BBC Radio and the National Heritage Memorial Fund is well regarded, and I hope she will do the arts the great service that is now in her power. She should examine the Arts Council thoroughly, and then urge the Government to abolish it.

Sir Lewis Robertson: Industrialist and company doctor who turned around the fortunes of ailing British businesses

At any significant gathering of the great and the good in Edinburgh or Glasgow, and at many an occasion in London, a huge man, with a large face and spectacles to match would heave into the room, with a supporting crutch. This was Lewis Robertson, company director extraordinary, who, in my opinion, was both good and great. He was an industrialist in his own right, not merely a consultant; he was an extremely effective administrator; but, above all, he excelled as a corporate recovery specialist.

Alan Davey: The arts are here to provide the strength to overcome despair

In the times we are living in, the arts matter more than ever. There'll be pressure to cut funding but I'd argue that now is the time to expand. We've got to keep public spending strong as a base to attract private funding, and from which to put on compelling work.

Is music policed and controlled?

A new course in music policy starting at the University of Edinburgh this month aims to open students' eyes to the politics of sound, teaching them about who is allowed to make music, and who is allowed to hear it, and why. The course – the first of its kind – will encourage third- and fourth-year music students to think about how music is patronised and policed, and what motivates the people and organisations behind it.

Edinburgh Festival director to step down

The director of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe today announced he is to step down.

David Lister: Do lyrics really matter

The Week in Arts: A chorus of dissent, but do lyrics really matter?

John Cruft: LSO oboist and secretary who became a much-loved director of music and drama at the Arts Council

In the late 1960s, when Jennie Lee was Minister for the Arts, William Glock was Director of Music at the BBC, and Pierre Boulez conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, John Cruft was the much-loved and respected Director of Music and Drama at the Arts Council (where Arnold Goodman was then Chairman). Ironically, at a time when "serious" music was as about as unpopular as "popular" music was then popular, new music nevertheless had its most formidable and capable champions within the establishment. When Cruft retired from the Arts Council in 1979, having been its Director of Music for 14 years, it was found that three people needed to be appointed to fulfil the workload he had somehow managed on his own.

Gary McKeone: The creepy cult of management consultancy

Personal development, psychometric testing – I'm a veteran

Public service broadcasting must reform to survive, says watchdog

The media watchdog, Ofcom, has warned that British public service broadcasting is under threat unless the UK moves to a new system by 2011.

Channel Five to showcase new talents from folk scene

There was a time, not long ago, when folk music was about little more than sticking your finger in your ear, donning your best woolly jumper and pining for bygone times.

Arts Council gives 11th-hour reprieve over funding cuts

It was set to be the bloodiest cull of the arts for more than half a century. But, in a dramatic 11th-hour reprieve, Arts Council England has been forced to reconsider potentially devastating funding cuts for dozens of organisations.

Simon Mayo, Radio 5 Live

Oi, don't workshop my language, mate

For all its faults, the Arts Council does not deserve such bad reviews

These are turbulent times in the world of subsidised arts. An assortment of theatrical grandees this week passed a vote of no confidence in the central funding body for the arts in Britain. And next week is the deadline for appeals to be lodged from almost 200 arts organisations, many of them well-respected, that had their funding cut at the end of last year. So what exactly is going on?

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