The UK is justifiably proud of it’s artistic legacy. In 2009 there were 7.7 million visits to live music events & in 2011 the value of UK music exports exceeded £17 billion. Yet 56% of all working musicians earn less than 20k per annum, one in five earn less than £10k, and currently, over a third of ALL working musicians need to undertake alternative employment in order to survive (Figures from The Working Musician report – Musicians Union 2012). On average, visual artist’s in my country (Wales) earn less than 5k per annum, and in 2012, 61% of all (so called) jobs & opportunities offered to artists were for no payment at all (figures from a-n survey 2012).

The general excuses for this state of affairs are a misuse of the term “community” & the notion that, if someone enjoys/loves their work, they should do it for nothing. Try that line with your plumber, builder, mechanic, accountant, babysitter, bank manager, butcher & baker, and see what happens. Only the candlestick maker is deemed to be of little or no worth. Here’s why.

The continued ideological commodification of education has resulted in a validation of epistemology only in relation to a potential vocational or commercial worth. Intelligence, creativity, & imagination have thus been increasingly harvested & harnessed to the needs of the few by the gradual disappearance of centralised non-commercial funding, especially in the arts; to the extent that Knowledge for the joy of it & art for art’s sake are becoming increasingly alien, if not demonised, concepts – one’s to avoid if one values one’s job (etc), and where thinking “outside” the box & ontology have been generally outcast to a dystopian wasteland by behavioral confirmation.

Outside of academia, google algorithms now control our access to information & derivatives control the flow of wealth. There is actually enough money to provide for everyone on the planet, but less than 1% are keeping it all. We are however told that democracy works, and although It is humiliating to be ruled/controlled, underpaid & underfunded, it is apparently less humiliating to be told that we are free to choose which corporate lackeys we allow to control us! Beyond provision for all, the true value of a society lies in it’s creative & intellectual products, and only by encouraging a ‘freedom’ of thought & creative expression can art, & subsequently society, flourish.

Question: What do need?”
Answer: Artists, musicians, polemicists & a transdiscipline approach to knowledge – the juxtaposition of concepts.
Question: When do want it”?
Answer: NOW (especially If time is an error theory of perception)


Nik Bizzell-Browning

(Composer, writer – & researcher, Brunel University, London)