Art and controversy: a new project
28 Jan 15

Index is delighted to be launching a new project, based on its past work on art and offence, that will offer artists, producers and curators help in negotiating controversial issues and free expression.

In partnership with advocacy group Vivarta, Index will produce a series of information packs examining the impact of current UK laws on the arts sector and its freedom to present creative works.

The packs build on work initiated by Index associate arts producer Julia Farrington, who led the 2013 Taking the Offensive conference at the Southbank at which senior arts practitioners addressed questions of self-censorship and offence.

“Arts professionals rarely get any training in legal issues that impact on freedom of artistic expression,” said Farrington, who will manage the project for Index and advocacy group Vivarta. “These guides will should give people more confidence in making decisions, with greater awareness of their legal rights and the role of the police.”

The new guides will be launched in May, with input from professionals working in the arts, civil liberties and legal sectors. They are produced with support from the Arts Council.

The guides come at a time when there is renewed focus on the role of the arts community in promoting and staging challenging works. In 2014, Index led a series of workshops exploring this question with arts professionals in Wales and Northern Ireland. A final such workshop will held in Scotland later this year.

“The shutting down last year of performances like Exhibit B at The Barbican and Israeli hip hop opera The City in Edinburgh demonstrate that artists and venues continue to walk a delicate path when putting on challenging work,” said Index CEO Jodie Ginsberg. “Often fear of opposition or protest forces groups to self-censor. We hope clearer guidance on tackling these issues can help to reverse that trend.”

Additional information can be found here.