Clore Leadership Programme
Clore Leadership Programme
 
 

What Is Art Good For

Astrid Alben, Wellcome Trust Fellow 2013-14 makes a passionate case for the intrinsic value of art. 

Astrid Alben
Astrid Alben

"Ah, but was I a good friend?” 
No. 
“A good companion?” 
No. 
“A good lover?” 
No. 
“A good husband?” 
No. 
“But was I a good liar?” 
No.
“A good enemy?” 
No. 
A glint of triumph flashed across my ex-lover’s exasperated face: 
“Ah, yes Astrid, but was I good material?”

He may have been good material or not. But he was certainly material. Material for what? For the transformation of one thing into something else: from raw experience into poetry. Once a poem has been formed it is in and of itself. The finished article, as Don Patterson eloquently put it, is “just a little machine for remembering itself.” It requires no further justification. Similarly, I would argue, the question, 'what purpose does poetry serve?', or indeed, 'what is the utility of art?', will not explain what art is and why some of us make art.

To read of download the full provocation paper, click below.

 
 
 

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