Monday, January 24, 2011

Slow Motion Governance

The Government is falling, albeit in slow motion.

Still no new CEO at the Irish Film Board, or at least not one whose appointment has been sanctioned by Government and publicly announced. It was mid-July, six months ago, when news of Simon Perry's departure was released.

The IFB's first production meeting of the year is scheduled for this coming Friday, the 28th January. If that can proceed without the involvement of a new CEO it might be argued that the agency has sufficient personnel resources for the time being and could save the cost of appointing a new CEO.

UPDATE (25/01/2011)
From the Irish Film Board, backers of five films at the Rotterdam Film Festival this week: Simon Perry in the position of IFB consultant will be attending the festival from Saturday 29th until Thursday 3rd February and IFB Production Executive Emma Scott will be attending Monday 31st January to Wednesday 2nd February.

It is likely now that there will be a new minister in charge of the Department by St. Patrick's Day. After John O'Donoghue's incumbency, and the succession of ministers who followed him, the Department's political value and status has greatly diminished.

The Arts/Culture element of the brief has been colonised and led by concerns - employment, returns on investment, multiplier effects - which are more properly the ambit of other government departments.

Expenditures on culture will, naturally, have effects that are measurable in economic terms. But those effects should not be the basis for exchequer support for culture. Nor should they be offered as a form of apology or justification for supporting cultural activity in times of financial hardship.

If these effects become the basis for that support then the cultural work that results from the State's support will be valued only in terms of outcomes that are measurable in economic or monetary criteria, rather than for the work's inherent cultural value, or lack of it.

Using these criteria the film Leap Year, for instance, is a resounding success for cultural policy. But is it?

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