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Made In England
The Engine Room trains people to film
Does Somerset have culture?
by Phil Shepherd
Somerset is famous for the world's biggest cultural festival - Glastonbury. But does the county have enough culture? As the new Cultural Strategy is about to be written, the Engine Room's Phil Shepherd talks about what culture means to him.
Leo Tolstoy described art as ‘one of the conditions of human life’. Without it, he said, ‘we might be almost more savage still, and above all, more separated from and more hostile to one another’.
These words remain as true today as they did in Tolstoy’s day. Whether culture be the arts, community media, libraries and museums, recreational facilities – these represent the creative cornerstones of our civilisation and we starve them at our peril.
All creativity is about making marks in the sand, about we as human beings discovering more about who we are, what is fundamentally important to us, what we can contribute and where we fit in. However, the basic human need to participate meaningfully in culture has been increasingly marginalized in the homogeny of modern life.
I work as the Facilitator for Somerset Film, we run the Engine Room community media centre and moving image projects across the county. Along with partners in the wider Somerset arts scene we daily see evidence of art and culture’s power to change people's lives for the better.
Culture’s tendency to unite dissimilar things, to heighten existence, to reveal and give meaning to life, these elements are crucial to human happiness, not easily measured in terms of GNP but carrying more value than money can ever buy.
We urge those with access to the purse strings to recognize the immense value of culture in providing vital platforms and forums for expression, dialogue and creativity in an increasingly fragile consensus across the UK.
This is an urgent matter, as it is all too evident – and not surely just to those of us working in the sector - that the less culture we get the more it shows!
And you can make your views known on what should be incorporated in the Cultural Strategy by attending one of these workshops:
25th June 9:30am – 11:30am at Sedgemoor District Council Offices
27th June 2pm – 4pm Moorland Hall, Wheddon Cross
2nd July 5:30pm – 7:30pm Church Rooms, Kingsbury Episcopi (near Martock)
21st July 9:30 – 11:30am Luttrell Room, Block A, Somerset County Council, County Hall, Taunton
Or you can have your say by filling in the form below:
last updated: 23/06/2008 at 18:42
Have Your Say
How can culture be improved in the county?