Oxford 2011: Does it make a difference who funds the arts?


  • Sir Mark Jones (director, Victoria and Albert Museum)
  • Karen Freyer (managing director, New Deal of the Mind; former journalist with CNN, Newsnight and TIME)
  • Chaired by Jean Seaton (director of the Orwell Prize – Will Gompertz has unfortunately had to pull out)


In Britain the state has always played a large part in funding the arts; in America, private philanthropy has been the main driver. The new government is proposing that philanthropists should play a bigger role in culture in the UK. What effect would this have? What value do the arts bring to society? And does it matter if philanthropists, and not the state, develop them?



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