Does any topic or depiction get a free ride once it is described as art? And what of artists who go out of their way to shock and outrage, possibly more by a desire for publicity than artistic considerations? Is it possible to draw a line between legitimate artistic or moral criticism of an offensive artwork and calls for the work to be censored? Should artists and arts professionals bear some responsibility for work that is highly likely to generate a heated, even violent, reaction? Are calls for potentially offensive works to display ‘trigger warnings’ and similar advisory labels provide a sincere attempt to avoid upset in sensitive viewers or do they encourage a censorious outlook? Should some topics or language be off limits, irrespective of intent or background of the artist? How should the arts world respond to an offence-sensitive age?
Speakers debate these questions as part of the Battle of Ideas, weekend of high-level, thought-provoking public debate taking place on October 17 and 18 at the Barbican, London.
When: 17 October, 4-5:15pm
Where: Cinema 2, Barbican, London
Tickets: Festival tickets are available from the Battle of Ideas
Chief executive, Index on Censorship
head, artists’ advisory services, Artsadmin; member, Mayor of London’s Cultural Strategy Group; coordinator, Manifesto Club’s Visiting Artists campaign
theatre director; credits include, Homegrown (NYT); Octagon (Arcola Theatre); Even Stillness Breathes Softly Against A Brick Wall (Soho Theatre)
opera singer, tenor; founder, Operalabb Sweden; op-ed cultural writer; consultant on operatic culture