by Carla FitoiuPopUp Newsroom UK discussed the issue of austerity and poverty in arts and culture with Martin Gollan, Newcastle based artist who paints and sculpts at the Biscuit Tin Studio.
In March 2013, similar cuts were made in Newcastle upon Tyne, reducing culture funds by £1.2m and leading to the loss of 1,300 jobs. Newcastle City Council leader was quoted saying that the city is nearly in an "abyss of austerity". The ChronicleLive conducted a poll regarding the situation, and most readers voted in favour of cuts to arts and culture.
The Biscuit Tin Studios, Newcastle upon Tyne (photo by Samantha Killebrew)
When asked what his thoughts are on the general opinion that the arts field is a luxury (opinion which resulted after conducting the poll), Gollan expressed his frustration: “Arts and culture aren’t as embedded in people’s lives as they ought to be. Perhaps we need to take a different approach to what we expect from the arts and what we want to get out of them, how we support artists.”
Both Gollan and Keith Murdoch, fellow artist at the Biscuit Tin, shared with us that most of them need a stable job to maintain themselves and their families: “We don’t have the luxury or the time resources to do this fulltime”.