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Local arts cuts

From Jonathan Timbers

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Putting the local elections to one side, I have some bad news, which some of you may already know about.

Arc publications, an internationally renowed independent poetry publisher, based near Eastwood, has lost its Arts Council grant. Over the years, it has published acclaimed contemporary poets such as David Morley and Mike Haslam, but arguably its most important contribution is as a publisher of poetry in translation from, amongst other places, Eastern Europe, the Basque country, Greece and the Middle East. No other poetry publisher in the UK seems as committed to introducing UK readers to poetry from other countries (except Enitharmon, which has also lost its grant).

Arc's presence locally has enriched the area by organising international readings in Hebden Bridge and by providing local employment. This cut seems perverse because Arts Council funding to literature has actually increased under the Coalition government.

Whatever your political leanings, I urge you to write to our MP to protest against this damaging decision. Before doing so, you may wish to view the list of people who have sent in messages of support to Arc - it's a truly international list.

Craig, our MP, may not be able to change the Arts Council's decision (after all, one of the purposes of quangos is to make independent funding decisions), but he may at least be in a position to ask them to think again. In any event, I am sure your support for this admirable and excellent local venture will be appreciated.

From Jonathan Timbers

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Following on from my last post, I am happy to report that I have had a letter from Craig Whittaker's office confirming that he has written to the Director of the Arts Council North asking him to explain the decision to cease funding Arc and then to review it.

A very prompt and efficient reply during the holiday season!

Let's keep our fingers crossed!