I wrote this post for Life | Art | Us on 7 June 2011. Click on the link at the bottom to read the full post.
On the Saturday of FutureEverything 11, I tripped over an interesting discussion organised by CODA, about the state of media art UK. As well as talking about the impact of recent funding cuts and the concerning number of media art organisations that had lost out, the group also talked proactively about how people and organisations active in the UK media art movement might work better together in the future, to improve the visibilty and understanding of media arts practice in the UK, and create a stronger voice for media art, particularly amongst policy makers and funders.
About the UK media art ecology
The UK media art ecology is fascinating and made up of many elements. It includes policy makers who provide funding and guidelines that help to shape the ecology at a strategic level, commissioning agencies who fund creative activity, arts and digital practitioners who make stuff, museums, galleries and other kinds of agencies (public and private) who show stuff, audiences who go and see stuff, academics, historians, journalists and critics who talk about work and broader trends, and education institutions who invest in the development of future practitioners, curators, creative producers, funders, critics and policy makers.
A strong and vibrant creative ecology needs a good mix of all of these elements in order to thrive, it also needs these elements to work well together. Sadly, one of the biggest challenges facing media art UK is that the balance of these elements is quite skewed, particularly in terms of commissioning new work, and this has only become more acute as a result of recent funding cuts. Another challenge facing the UK media arts movement is that it’s fragmented, and it has been for quite some time. I’ll come back to this a little bit later.