Sir John Tusa on his new book
The Chair of the Clore Leadership Programme has just written a new book on the arts, one that is gaining prominence as a “dose of smelling salts thrust under the nose of the body cultural”
This item was last updated on
2 June 2014
Over a distinguished career in cultural leadership, management and journalism spanning almost 30 years, Sir John Tusa has amassed a unique experience of the arts world, the political controversies it faces and the battles it continues to fight. His new book is a fearless and passionate defence of the performing and visual arts at a time of increasing 'Pain in the Arts.' Sir John explains how the arts are run and why they are worth speaking up for:
“The book is dedicated to Clore Fellows, Past, Present and Future. I subtitle the book, 'A Manual, A Memoir and a Polemic'. The dedication to Fellows reflects the amount that I have learned about leadership through working with you and listening to you during the last 6 years. It is a manual in a loose sense, it is not an ABC of leadership, not the definitive answer but rather a guide to certain directions and ways of behaving that leaders may find useful. The memoir refers to the extracts from my contemporaneous journal written over the previous five years which frame chapters on current arts issues and controversies. In the polemic parts, I argue that no government should waste its time cutting the arts because it will have no beneficial effect on public finances, rather a negative one. At the end of this book, I suspect that my enemies will still be my enemies but I hope my friends will remain unshakeable.”
The book has also been received well by personalities from the arts and culture sector in the UK:
'I have always admired John's fearless pursuit of clarity and this book is a dose of smelling salts thrust under the nose of the body cultural. He has a great instinct for coining or spotting the telling phrase that cuts through the fog of obfuscation and self delusion that so often cloaks arts policy. His analysis of the often unconsciously deceptive language used around arts organisations is as amusing as it is timely. He is a champion of the arts who unusually is able to combine a celebratory love of its productions with unflinchingly honest appraisal of its organisations.'
Grayson Perry, Artist
'The Arts are necessary and important. They have been doing well in the UK but will undoubtedly face some big challenges in the future. Clear thinking and strong leadership will be required. John Tusa, characteristically articulate and provocative, provides a real stimulus for the thinking which is needed.'
Vernon Ellis, Chair of the British Council
'This is an important book: not only for its page turning personal account of turbulent times, but also in the insights and challenges offered – reminding all who work in the arts of the need to be sure of our first principles and to defend them resolutely.' Alan Davey, Chief Executive, the Arts Council
To know more about the book, click here.