At Arm´s Length

Seren Books,
20 February 2008, Wales

At Arm’s Length gives a graphic account of a battle to maintain the arm’s length principle in arts funding, but also describes the long devolution road and a struggle to sustain a more local, national voice in the face of globalisation, the increasing centralisation of British government and media, and an ‘unbalanced and lazy British union’.

Devolution to Wales and Scotland may prove to have been the most profound domestic change of the Blair years. In this book – part memoir, part commentary – the media and arts executive, Geraint Talfan Davies, presents a view from the ‘least assertive of the UK’s nations’.

This is civil society and culture seen from Wales, a fledgling democracy hesitantly asserting a new autonomy, but challenged by the decline of regional newspapers, the collapse of ITV’s regional mission, a London-centric media, and a threat to the independence of the arts.

Geraint Talfan Davies has been at the centre of Welsh cultural life – in both languages – for over thirty years. Davies is from a family closely involved with Welsh public life. In addition to writing about this prodigious family with insight and humour, Davies also explores some of his professional passions: how if the nature of Welsh civic society changing under devolution; how will broadcasting and news gathering and dissemination look in ten years time; how can the arts be developed in the future and is there a role for the Arts Council of Wales?

Here is a book which deals with the issues from a standpoint of extensive inside knowledge and experience. It won’t be to everyone’s taste, nor would he want it to be.

Two articles from icWales contain extracts from the book:
Former arts chief speaks out on artistic freedom
Our economic salvation and creativity

The link below is to the publisher’s site, where the book can be purchased online.