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March 26 2012

Growing up black: Dennis Morris's portrait of the 70s

The photographer's pictures of black Britons during the 60s and 70s capture a period of seismic change that we can only really understand now

'The way we see things is affected by what we know and what we believe," wrote John Berger in Ways of Seeing. "The relation between what we see and what we know is never settled."

We know that Britain's official story – the one it keeps telling itself – is that it is a tolerant country with regards to race. This tolerance is not regarded as a work of progress but as an enduring expression of Britain's innate genius. This toleration had limits. It endured the presence of "different" kinds of people so long as they didn't make a difference.

"We are a British nation with British characteristics," explained Margaret Thatcher in 1978, during the same interview that she warned of Britain being "swamped": "Every country can take some small minorities and in many ways they add to the richness and variety of this country. The moment the minority threatens to become a big one, people get frightened."

And even as the central focus of the nation's anxieties shifted from Caribbeans to Muslims, from race to religion and from colour to culture, this essential quality remained firm. "We should talk, and rightly so, about British values that are enduring," argued Gordon Brown in 2005. "Because they stand for some of the greatest ideas in history: tolerance, liberty, civic duty, that grew in Britain and influenced the rest of the world."

But what we see in Dennis Morris's pictures of black Britons in the 60s and 70s – collected together in a new book – both challenges the limitations inherent in that framing and provides a counter-narrative to it. For in the photographs of people at church and at play, styling and protesting during this critical period in our racial history he transforms black Britons from objects to subjects and recipients of hospitality to cultural agents. We see not just a group of people shaped by their presence in Britain but shaping it: not content with being tolerated by "hosts" they demanded engagement in their new home.

The 70s were a pivotal period in black British history. When people started arriving in large numbers after the second world war, most planned to stay only long enough to earn some money and go back "home". But as Berger wrote in the Seventh Man: "The gold fell from very high in the sky. And so when it hit the earth it went down very, very, deep." So they stayed, married and raised families.

Morris's pictures illustrate the period in which black Britons, as a whole, moved from a state of transience to permanence. No longer just an immigrant community the children in these photographs have the task of reconciling the apparent contradictions between race and place. To them falls the burden of becoming British while remaining black, matching the colour of their skin with the crest on their passport – not just about the right to be in the country, but to stay in it, not just to survive but to thrive. To this generation was bequeathed the task not only of salvaging their own scattered and forgotten histories but relating to the rest of Britain how their shared histories made their presence possible. "We are here because you were there," explained Sri Lankan-born novelist, and director of the Institute of Race Relations, A Sivanandan, outlining the colonial ties that bind. The political rally cry of the time: "Come what may we're here to stay."

Throughout we witness the influences of Paul Gilroy's Black Atlantic at work. Flat caps and pork pie hats, small children dressed for church like little Lord Fauntleroy, platform shoes, flares long collars, head-wraps, miniskirts, cricket whites, rallies to support American political prisoners, The Carib Club and Gregory Issacs.

The mixed-race wedding, and various photographs of white people at social events are testimony to the fact that while this may have been a somewhat autonomous project it was by no means an independent one. Even in areas where there was a high concentration of black people, such as Hackney where these pictures were taken, the black experience was never segregated.

But this next generation could not fashion this culture out of whole cloth. "Men make their own history," wrote Karl Marx in the 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte. "But they do not make it just as they please; they do not make it under circumstances chosen by themselves, but under given circumstances directly encountered and inherited from the past."

The Caribbean, to which many if not most of this generation maintained more than an emotional connection, was undergoing a period of cultural assertiveness and political turbulence. Globally it was a decade in which the Caribbean punched well above its demographic weight. In 1972 came the release of Jimmy Cliff's The Harder They Come; in 1973, the formation of Caricom, the Caribbean Community; in 1975 the release of No Woman No Cry, Bob Marley's first hit outside of Jamaica, marking the emergence of the first third world superstar. And in 1976 the West Indies cricket team thrashed England at the Oval. I was seven at the time, and I remember well the phone ringing in Stevenage as the small local Caribbean community celebrated every wicket that fell and six that was struck and my mother, standing at the door, shouting at me halfway up the street that "Brian Close had gone".

A year later there was the battle of Lewisham, where the mobilisation of the National Front was met with fierce resistance. In 1978 came Steel Pulse's album Handsworth Revolution suggesting these expressions of cultural resistance had travelled and could translate. Notwithstanding Jamaica's explosive, violent and dysfunctional domestic politics at the time, all this added confidence to the notion that "we" had something valuable with which to engage.

Where Britain was concerned those circumstances were inauspicious. The 70s were a period of particular upheaval – a decade in which post-colonial Britain too found itself in a traumatic and profound transition. There were four elections, blackouts, an IMF bailout, massive strikes, mass unemployment, 25% inflation. With punk rock in the ascendancy, the anthem for a young, mostly white, generation could be heard in the main refrain of the Sex Pistols' hit God Save the Queen: "No future, no future, no future for you."

At the very moment when black youths were trying to imagine new beginnings, the very certainties on which the lives of many white working-class youths were founded – full employment, subsidised housing, state economic intervention – were coming to an end.

That decade came to a close with the election of Thatcher, whose victory was aided in no small part by her crude appeal to white anxieties over immigration, heralding a more overtly antagonistic racial landscape for the 80s.

"Minorities are the flashpoint for a series of uncertainties that mediate between everyday life and its fast-shifting global backdrop," writes Arjun Appadurai in his book Fear of Small Numbers. "This uncertainty, exacerbated by an inability of states to secure economic sovereignty in the era of globalisation, may translate into a lack of tolerance of any sort of collective stranger."

And so it was that the efforts to establish existential legitimacy were complicated and interrupted not just by the rise of the extreme right but by a popular racist discourse that found free rein in the press. The contempt in which the black British community was held at that time, the limits within which they were tolerated and the apparent precariousness of their presence in the mediated landscape was exemplified by coverage of the Notting Hill carnival.

In 1977 the Express's front page read: "War Cry! The unprecedented scenes in the darkness of London streets looked and sounded like something out of the film classic Zulu."

"If the West Indians wish to preserve what should be a happy celebration which gives free rein to their natural exuberance, vitality and joy," argued the Mail on 31 August 1977, "then it is up to their leaders to take steps necessary to ensure its survival."

The Telegraph blamed black people for being in Britain in the first place, declaring: "Many observers warned from the outset that mass immigration from poor countries of substantially different culture would generate anomie, alienation, delinquency and worse."

That the carnival had emerged as a response to race riots in the 50s and is now the largest street carnival in western Europe is testament to how far things have shifted. That "black culture" would be blamed for the social unrest that erupted in around England in 2011 is an indication of how far we still have to go.

What was once feared as an emblem of the foreign incursion into our national identity is now embraced and even marketed as a sign of our modernity. Britain's diversity was central to the marketing in our successful Olympic bid, even if the day after the result was announced the terrorist atrocities of 7/7 put multiculturalism back in the dock. This did not happen because people just thought it was a good idea or, more bizarrely still, because it came naturally to the British temperament. It happened because it was fought for, by black and white, until our absence, not our presence, was unimaginable.

There was nothing inevitable about that outcome. Morris's images reveal a community in unselfconscious flux and renewal.

The fact that its continued existence is no longer contested and, when it comes to market British modernity even celebrated, is not a function of tolerance, but of endurance and struggle.

Growing up Black by Dennis Morris (£250 until 30 March including a signed limited edition print; £300 thereafter) is published by Autograph ABP. For more details visit © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

March 25 2012

Dennis Morris: 'Suddenly we were black, not coloured'

Dennis Morris is celebrated for his iconic photographs of the Sex Pistols and Bob Marley. But few knew that in that pivotal era he was also documenting black British life in London…

I meet Dennis Morris on the steps of Hackney town hall in east London, and we set off up Mare Street, through a church yard that leads into a small park, and out on to Homerton High Street, where his old school, Upton House Comprehensive, has been transformed into City Academy. It was there, aged 16, that Morris told a careers adviser that he wanted to be a photographer.

"The guy just looked at me like I was mad," he says. "Then he said: 'Be realistic. There's no such thing as a black photographer.' Those were his words and I've never forgotten them. I told him about Gordon Parks and James Van Der Zee, but he just looked at me blankly and shook his head."

Nearly 40 years later, with his new book of photographs, Growing Up Black, about to be published in a limited art edition, Morris has agreed to guide me around the streets of Hackney, where he grew up in the late 1960s and early 70s. It is a place that, as we soon find out, only fully exists now in his memories. The street names are the same, the churches and the schools remain, but four decades of redevelopment have rendered much of his boyhood manor all but unrecognisable. "It's strange," says Morris. "So much has changed but it's still the same vibe on the street, still the same mixture of people, though it's a lot more trendy these days."

For those of us who know Dennis Morris primarily for his music photography, specifically his evocative shots of the Sex Pistols in their mid-70s heyday – Malcolm McLaren made him the group's official photographer – and his portraits of reggae pioneers such as Bob Marley, Gregory Isaacs and the Abyssinians, the book is a surprise. It is a slice of social history as well as a kind of impressionistic visual autobiography. As Morris puts it: "Alongside the music stuff, I was also taking photographs at a pivotal time for black people in Britain, politically and culturally. Suddenly we weren't coloured people any more – we were black. It was a question of pride and of self-definition. I see it now as a pioneering time, a time of great struggle and change."

Growing Up Black is divided into eight chapters, each one documenting a stage in Morris's photographic life and providing a wider glimpse of black British experience. The book's narrative begins in St Mark's church on St Mark's Rise in Hackney, where Morris was once a choirboy, and ends in the Black House, a north London building occupied by a radical British black power collective led by the controversial figure of Michael X. "The book touches a lot of bases, I guess," says Morris. "The church, reggae, radical politics, the neighbourhood and street life. In a way, photography was my life and my life is there in the photographs I took. I was always recording my experience with the camera."

Morris's family came to England from Jamaica when he was four years old. St Mark's church provided a religious and social fulcrum for both his mother and her son, as well as the wider West Indian community in Hackney. The vicar, Reverend Donald Pateman, was a local legend: a man on a mission to do good in the community and keep the local youths on the straight and narrow.

As we walk up Sandringham Road, traversing Cecilia Road, where his childhood home was, Morris turns quiet. The rows of Victorian terraced houses have been replaced in great swathes by more nondescript houses and apartments. Outside the church, a crowd of older West Indians have gathered for a funeral. We sit on a low wall opposite and chat quietly.

"The vicar was a strict disciplinarian," says Morris. "And the West Indian parents loved him for it. He ran the choir like a public school and dressed us up like little toffs in Eton suits. We took a lot of stick from the other kids around here, but we were tough street kids and we gave as good as we got. It was like a strange double life I was leading, but it definitely gave me a sense of self-confidence."

The choir was funded by the church's benefactor, Donald Paterson, who had made his fortune in camera technology. It was Paterson who organised and financed the St Mark's camera club, where, at the age of nine, Dennis Morris discovered his  vocation.

"He's the reason I'm a photographer," says Morris. "He convinced my parents that I could make a career out of it even when the school was against it. More than that, though, he opened my mind to the possibility that you could go beyond what was expected of you."

Growing Up Black is dedicated to Mr Paterson, who, as Morris writes, "guided me, taught me, encouraged me". Morris tells me about the bittersweet day, several years later, when, at 18, he had one of his images used on the cover of NME for the first time. "Believe it or not, I'm not sure if it was Bob [Marley] or the Sex Pistols, or even if it was 1976 or 1977. But what I can remember clearly is running from my house to Mr Paterson's office to show him the front cover. It was like a vindication of all his faith in me."

When Morris entered the office, though, he was met by a group of sad-faced men and crying women. That day, his mentor had drowned in a lake alongside three young members of the choir, while on a camping trip to Scotland. "I was devastated," says Morris. "It was like a light went out in my life, but, after a while, I realised that he was always there with me when I was taking a photograph and if I gave up, I would be letting him down. That's what kept me going."

There is just one portrait of Dennis Morris in Growing Up Black. It was taken in 1973, when his career as a music photographer was just beginning and he's wearing stylish shades and a black polo neck. This was also the year he first encountered Bob Marley, when the Wailers arrived in London from Jamaica to play the Speakeasy. Having bunked off school, Morris waited outside the club from early morning. His patience paid off when Marley invited him inside to hang out with the group and to shoot some pictures while they were sound-checking. The next morning, again at Marley's request, he accompanied the Wailers as they boarded a van for a short tour of Britain. "I put my cameras in my school sports bag alongside a change of clothes and just took off with them for a week or so," he says.

That reckless decision led to a career as a music photographer with the NME in the 1970s, and to his meeting the Sex Pistols and bonding with John Lydon over their love of reggae. He subsequently became a floating member of Lydon's post-Pistols group, Public Image Ltd, designing their logo and the round metal canister that contained their Metal Box album. "It was a creative time, but nobody ever got paid," says Morris, laughing.

Alongside his adventures in the music business – he formed Basement 5 with the DJ Don Letts in the late 70s – Morris kept on photographing the world around him. He has two other series about London: one based in and around Southall, and another focusing on the white working-class community in Hackney. One senses that Growing Up Black, though, is his most personal project.

"It brings back a lot of memories," he says of the series. "It reminds me of how hard it was back then. There was a lot of sacrifice, a lot of struggle. I remember when I was starting out as a photographer and still living at home, I would keep the window open in my room so I could hear the public phone on the street ring. We didn't have a phone so I used to give people I worked for the number of the public phone outside the house."

I ask him about the extraordinarily evocative series of photographs entitled simply "Wedding, Town Hall, Mare Street, Hackney, 1971". "Man, that was a big thing, a real big thing. I knew a few black guys who had married white women, but this was the first time I saw a wedding between a white man and a black woman. I was a photographer for hire then and got jobs word of mouth because I was cheap and dependable. I remember a certain tension in the church, mainly coming off the in-laws. You can feel that tension in the photographs. It was moving, though. I felt they were very brave people, the bride and groom. Pioneers."

The book could easily have been called "Black Pioneers". You sense that sense of adventure and uncertainty in many of the photographs. It's there in the portraits of the early sound system pioneers posing in sharp suits beside their custom-built speakers, in the defiant gazes of the young radicals in thrall to the black power movement, in the casual poses of the young women gathered at a blues dance in a Hackney basement. As the cultural historian Stuart Hall writes in his introductory essay: "Without working consciously to a plan, Morris seems to have used every opportunity – studio work, special occasions, photoshoots, in the street, around the ''hood', indoors, the big moments, the incidental – to capture another dimension of this experience. The results constitute a thoughtful, beautifully observed, richly expressive, quietly eloquent collection of images of everyday black diaspora life, as well as making a major contribution to an archive of tremendous social, historical and visual significance." © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

August 30 2011

David Starkey is a master of the past, not the present

His views on race and the riots have drawn fierce criticism, but Starkey's books reveal a Britain remote from today's debates

I have been wondering what to do with my David Starkey books. I own three of his works on Tudor history in paperback, and one in hardback – oh, and a catalogue of an exhibition he curated. Until I heard his remarks on race, Enoch Powell and the riots, I was happy to think of myself as a fan. The day after, I thought about taking all his books to the charity shop. Instead I have put them behind other books. At least I don't have to finish his incredibly long history of Henry VIII's wives.

A large group of academics have written to the Times Higher Education Supplement, saying that Starkey has proved himself so well out of order that reports should not even call him a "historian" outside his specialist field of the Tudors. The word gives racist remarks a spurious legitimacy.

Is it a good idea to officially denounce him in this way? Doesn't it give a false aura of martyrdom and importance to views that are, in truth, so wide of the national consensus they seem to have spilled out of a parallel universe where Starkey remains stuck in the 1970s? So remote are his views from today's mainstream that it might be healthier – though probably impossible – to laugh them off as silly ramblings.

Anyway, it does not make sense to deny Starkey the title "historian". His books are immensely well-researched. He may know nothing about modern Britain but he knows an awful lot about the privy chamber in the 16th century. One of the things he has made famous is the sense of that word "privy", with the king's ministers doubling as intimate body servants. The texture of Starkey's descriptions of Tudor court life is amazingly rich and similar to what the anthropologist Clifford Geertz called "thick description". Very few living historians would be on safe ground questioning his credentials, so I hope all those letter signatories are truly brilliant at their craft.

If Starkey has suddenly turned himself into a villain in many peoples' eyes, including mine, the historian Marc Bloch was surely a hero. He fought in the French Resistance, and was captured and executed by the Nazis. But if you read his great work Feudal Society, traces of his political beliefs are impossible to find. It is an attempt to imagine the entire society of Europe in the 11th and 12th centuries and it does this without judgment, without false contemporary parallels. For the past is another country, and there is a liberation in imagining a world that is human yet utterly different from our own. As the globalised economy ravages the last pockets of truly pre-industrial culture everywhere on earth, it is increasingly in history – in the contemplation of other times when people thought in other ways – that we can free our minds to imagine otherness.

Starkey, in his history books, does that. He reveals a past Britain utterly remote from today's debates. It is going too far, and probably playing into the hands of those who would seek to defend his "freedom of speech", to deny that he deserves respect as a historian. His books remain as good as they were. It is just his views on the present day that should be dumped in the garderobe and dealt with by the Master of the Stools. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2011 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

April 09 2011

Brixton on fire

On 11 April 1981, tension between the police and youths led to Brixton being set aflame. Observer reporter Patrick Bishop recalls how he and photographer Neil Libbert covered a riot that marked a summer of discontent and changed the way that the country was policed

I can still recall, with almost psychedelic clarity, the moment that it started – a brick arcing through the air, the crunch of an imploding police van windscreen and the glitter of flying glass in the afternoon sunshine. Shortly after, Brixton was ablaze as roaming mobs vented years of pent-up anger.

I'd arrived with Neil Libbert that Saturday morning, sent down from the Observer's newsroom, then in St Andrew's Hill, Blackfriars. There had been trouble the night before and the area was awash with policemen and vehicles, all part of Operation Swamp, launched by the Met to show who was boss of the shabby streets. They were watched by groups of sullen youths, most, but not all black, gathered at street corners.

The ingredients for an explosion were there and just after 4.30pm it happened. Neil and I were standing in Atlantic Road, near an off-licence, when two very young-looking cops, dressed in jeans and bomber jackets, grabbed a young black man for no obvious reason and announced, in best Sweeney style: "You're nicked." As Neil snapped away with his Leica, they bundled the young man towards a police Transit van. It was, as Neil remarked later, "an extraordinarily provocative and stupid thing to do".

The watching crowd burst into furious life. Missiles flew, glass shattered and the violence rippled outwards like an underwater earthquake to Railton Road, Acre Lane and Brixton Road. Soon, police vehicles were overturned and torched and fire brigade tenders were pelted with paving stones, bricks and iron bars.

The police seemed surprised by the turn of events. It was some time before riot gear was issued but even then they were repeatedly beaten back by mobs drunk on anarchy and, as the evening wore on, looted liquor. Until late into the night, misrule reigned. Men and women swarmed through smashed shop windows, emerging laden with clothes, radios and televisions. The Windsor Castle pub was an early target. The fire took hold in minutes, bathing the mob in flickering red light as they capered outside, swigging the stolen stock.

The rioters – in the beginning at least – seemed as full of glee as anger and there were several touches of black comedy. At one point, I saw someone climb into the driver's cab of a number 37 bus abandoned in Railton Road. Both decks immediately filled up with rioters. Is it my imagination or did someone ding the bell as it set off towards the phalanx of policemen with only plastic shields to protect them, stretched across the end of the road? I certainly remember the look of stark terror on the officers' faces as it lurched towards them before mercifully rolling to a halt, blocked by an overturned car.

There were hardly any reporters around at the outset and the rioters did not seem bothered by our presence. Later that changed. Shortly after the bus incident, I was shoved against a wall, mauled and kicked, while snarling faces screamed that I was an undercover cop. I was rescued by an older man who checked my press card and sent me on my way.

Deadline was approaching and I had to find somewhere to file. Mobile phones had not yet been invented and the phone boxes were all trashed. Just as I was getting desperate, I came across the offices of some far-left group – the SWP perhaps. I knocked on the door and was admitted. They grudgingly allowed me to use their phone. My dictation was constantly interrupted by a stream of criticisms of the "bourgeois" slant of my report.

To the public-school lefties monitoring my words, it must have seemed that the revolution had finally arrived. It certainly felt to me like the start of something big and, indeed, that summer was long and hot with riots in Handsworth, Southall and Toxteth. But the crisis was averted. The police took a battering that day. Nearly 300 were injured and it was a miracle no officer was killed. When the Scarman report appeared that November, though, it was the police who bore the brunt of the criticism, forcing a strategic change in their relationship with the public that endures to this day.

Looking back, the riot looks like a minor skirmish in the Thatcher revolution, a sideshow compared to the social upheaval of the miners' strike three years later. As for me, the events of the day confirmed a latent taste for danger and excitement. The following year, I sailed as the Observer's correspondent with the task force sent by Thatcher to recapture the Falklands. It was the first of many wars, but the events of that mild spring Saturday have stayed with me, revived forcefully now by Neil Libbert's great pictures. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2011 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

August 16 2010

The arts need diversity schemes | Omar Kholeif

Positive action programmes for minority groups should remain on the cultural agenda until there is no organic need for them

It is no secret that the new British government is making sweeping changes to arts and culture policies. From budget cuts to the entire restructuring of national and regional arts funding, the unstable future of our collective culture is increasingly debated.

In the midst of that, we must also consider where minority groups fit into the equation. Will they muster the cut-throat tactics to survive? Will policymakers choose to maintain positive action programmes, or will sections 35 and 37 of the Race Relations Act be forgotten?

As a young arts professional, I have only recently felt my career taking off, having utilised the often-controversial diversity scheme as a springboard. After graduating with a first-class degree, I spent what seemed like a lifetime twiddling my thumbs in unsatisfying entry-level roles and, like many humanities graduates in my cohort, waiting at the jobcentre. Without the financial means to fund further my education, or the resources to devote time to unpaid work experience, I ended up taking on opportunities unrelated to my vocation.

Last year, just as matters had started to improve, I was accepted onto a curating fellowship. It was originally founded in response to a survey in 2005 that revealed only 6% of London's museum and gallery workforce hail from a minority background – a disproportionate ratio, considering that black and minority ethnic residents make up nearly a third of the capital's population.

Recent attitudes by policymakers have brought cause for concern. A couple of months ago, the mayor of London's director of arts and culture, Munira Mirza, suggested that positive-action cultural policies breed "difference" and, as such, prevent true equality from taking place. Perhaps even more disconcerting, however, were the angst-ridden and misguided comments on her article that suggested cultural diversity schemes were tantamount to racism and should be abolished.

In retrospect, it seems to me that Mirza and others are missing a vital point. Certain ethnic, social and cultural groups have been historically oppressed and are, accordingly, less likely to tread down seemingly less stable career paths, such as the arts.

As a first-generation British immigrant, I was groomed from as young as the age of five to go down the route of medicine – after all, my father had sacrificed a great deal to bring us to this country.

So what are we to do? Let the case rest and suggest art exhibitions are an area reserved for the white middle class? Fine art, specifically, is a subjective medium that has historically favoured the construction of a European and North American canon. And although recent trends in globalisation have fostered seemingly diverse collections, one must remember that this construction is still formed on the basis of "difference".

For instance, it is no coincidence that the rise of Middle Eastern art occurred in the wake of the events of 9/11 – when the likes of Charles Saatchi saw the opportunity to present artists who were responding to their Islamic identity.

And while exhibitions of Middle Eastern art are certainly better than having none at all, they are equally polemical if the environment for taste brokering is not diverse itself. To avoid imperialistic tendencies, minority groups must be allowed equal footing in the forum, where they can create their own canon.

Whether that canon promotes the cause of their ethnic identity is beside the point. Rather, it is about fostering a culture that permits the free flow of ideas, without the worry that one cultural product should take precedence over another.

Of course, this isn't to suggest that diversity policies come problem free. In my experience, they can foster feelings of envy and confusion from friends and colleagues who mistakenly believe that they encourage favouritism based on race. In reality, the selection criteria for such schemes tend to be especially stringent, with numerous applicants and especially high entry requirements.

Perhaps what cultural commentators need to recognise is that just because an arts policy raises new concerns, that does not mean it is bad or should be abandoned. Rather, the thorny questions raised should be used as a means for our progression. For example, diversity programmes around ethnicity force questions about the diversification of the arts workforce on the basis of social background – a matter that requires complex evaluation. Positive action programmes bear an unfair burden, and in times of economic recession my fear is that they may fall by the wayside. Instead of abandoning them, though, one hopes they will remain on the cultural agenda. If this inclusive desire for change continues to flourish then we may find these programmes fading out organically, as the voices that form our cultural narratives become more varied. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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