Why I've joined the Warwick Commission:
Since 1945 there's been a broad political consensus around public investment in arts and culture (though economic conditions may have led to fluctuating levels of support). Labour set up the Arts Council and more recently increased levels of support. The Conservatives introduced the National Lottery. But if you asked why we make the investment you'd get a range of answers (and sometimes no answer at all).
Now is the time to interrogate public investment in arts and culture to achieve a new consensus. The Warwick Commission can play a valuable role in this process. Defining the intrinsic value of culture, its beneficial effect on health and society, the symbiotic relationship with education and its complex economic outcomes, in a holistic manner, needs doing. But that's just the start: what policies should flow from this thinking? How might we derive even greater public value from our rich and thriving arts scene? And where cultural organisations are threatened, say as a result of reduced local authority spending, what is in danger of being lost?
Sir Peter Bazalgette is Chair of Arts Council England.
Peter was the former Chair of English National Opera. He has raised funds for arts and media organisations, notably as Chair of The Crossness Engines Trust (a steam museum) and as Deputy Chair of The National Film and Television School. He has a number of digital media interests, serving on the Boards of YouGov and MirriAd and the Advisory Board of BBH.
In TV he is the president of The Royal Television Society, served as the Chief Creative Officer of Endemol, on the Board of Channel 4 and devised several internationally successful television formats. He was also a non-executive director of DCMS. Peter writes a regular food column for the Financial Times.