Shenyang Travel

m. and after that the restaurants and food stalls are Shenyang Travel closed for the night. Fortunately I found one that was running late and they gave me Shenyang Travel a dish of chow mein. The following morning I was up shortly before dawn, in time to watch the lamasery coming to life. As I wandered through the lanes between temples I was passed by a group of monks wearing full-length brown robes, wrapped around their chest and over one shoulder. A couple of them wore thick capes of red and brown wool against the cold.

Well they might, but this is a case for the expansion of the art world more than an evidence-based policy statement. This is not to deny that valuable work was carried out by arts groups working with specific, often marginalized, publics (Kester 2004; 2011), but it is to say that a case as bland as that above fails to recognize that the problems faced are largely the outcomes of failures in other policy areas. Those failures are subsumed in the shiny rhetoric of culture.

The case for creativity tended, similarly, to annex social conditions. Florida uses the trope of time travel to imagine a native of the 1900s arriving in a postmodern city, seeing different ethnic groups … mingling in ways he [sic] found strange … mixed-race couples, and same-sex couples . women on strange new roller skates’ (Florida 2002: 3). It is a de-politicized diversity, like a tourist image, in contrast to the way Leonie Sandercock (2006) writes, from radical and multi-ethnic planning, of daily negotiations over co-presence and the right to use and be seen in a city’s spaces.

By the mid-2000s, a lack of evidence for the benefits of public investment in culturally-led regeneration led to a shift in British cultural policy, evident in remarks by the then Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Tessa Jowell, at a meeting of arts managers in London in 2005. Jowell, celebrating culture’s civilizing role, asserted that public funding could produce dazzling new work, of far-reaching innovation’ (Jowell 2005: 6), and continued that the arts could address a poverty not so much of money but of imagination – beyond measurement. She accepted that the arts were useful, but asserted that arts policy should focus on what the arts can do in themselves’ (2005: 7). The phrase has a hint of modernist aestheticism, and was a defence against demands from the Treasury for data. Jowell’s tactic was to turn to art’s intangibles in a way not the same as but no less abstract or aspirational than Florida’s tales of future wonderlands. I am not arguing, by the way, that art should be mechanistically audited – I’m an aesthete (though of a critical disposition).

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