Brexit arts debate coming to Bethnal Green 

Rich Mix, the independent arts venue where the debates are being held    Pic: Julian Walker (Flickr)

Artists and creatives are taking part in a series of debates about the future of the arts in post-Brexit Europe, being held in Bethnal Green.

Dubbed Democracy and the Arts in Europe, the event launches on March 28 at independent arts venue Rich Mix and will explore the opportunities and challenges Britain’s exit from the European Union will pose for people working in the arts.

Featuring a host of guest speakers, including director of the literary network English PEN, Jo Glanville, the first day will explore ideas surrounding national identity and borders for artists.

Also contributing is Munira Mirza, former Deputy Mayor for Education and Culture at the Greater London Authority, who said it is “vital” that the arts engage in discussions like this.

Event organiser, Wendy Earle, told Eastlondonlines: “We organised this event because we think open discussion is important – particularly at a time when people are quite anxious and divided about the future.

“At each event, we have a really great panel of speakers representing different perspectives, and are expecting to have a debate which brings out nuances and complexities of the situation we all face.”

“On the first event, the issues are particularly complex because many artists are committed to – and see their art as dependent on - the principle of freedom of movement, but may be living and working in communities which experience immigration as a problem.”

“We think it’s important to air these tensions in order to clarify what’s at stake and to provide a basis for resolving them.”

The event is being sponsored by INVOKE DEMOCRACY NOW, a campaign group set up to promote and defend democratic rights and freedoms, and is being run in association with the Institute of Ideas’ Arts and Society Forum and New Narratives.

Of the future, Earle continued: “That is at least partly up to us as people working in the creative and cultural sectors – certainly there are uncertainties, but if artists and creatives see the opportunities, as well as the challenges, we are likely to make a better future than if we mourn what we might or might not be losing.”

“There is much more to Europe than the EU. The EU has provided structures through which many artists and creatives negotiate their relationships with Europe, but we also have relationships with people and organisations that are independent of the EU and go beyond Europe.”

“Personally, I am pretty optimistic about the possibilities, but this is something we also hope our events will help clarify.”

The series will follow-up with events on Monday May 8, discussing the arts and the public, and Tuesday June 20, focusing on the future of the arts.

Tickets can be purchased at here.

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