Before we take a break from blogging and go on a well-deserved summer break, we would like to draw your attention to our latest project; a collaborative ebook on the effects of the Brexit vote on the UK’s cultural sector and its agents: “It’s not just the economy, stupid! Brexit and the Cultural Sector”. We both felt that these perspectives were often missing from the mainstream coverage of the Brexit topic – and so did many of our contributors.
Our contributors come from a broad range of cultural and artistic practice and many of them worry about two aspects which have come to the fore in the context of Brexit: the stark social rift which separates the Leave and Remain camps, and the nasty rise of xenophobia and insularity in all its different shapes and forms. A xenophobia unleashed by politicians and journalists but possibly a xenophobia which was always slumbering underneath the veneer of more outward looking multiculturalism, or at least an orientation which did not play so much on the return to formulaic imperial nostalgia which we have witnessed in the run-up to the referendum, and even more markedly, in the year since the referendum. Philip Jones, editor of The Bookseller, explained in June 2016: We emerge from the referendum a more divided society, one more insular and, for now, directionless.” (link to the article in The Bookseller)
Although our authors do not intend to be read or viewed as all-encompassing, and although they differ in respect to the focus they chose for their essays, poems, or statements, one aspect unifies their utterances: passion. Passion for the multi-faceted characteristics of culture, language, exchange, dialogue, border-crossings, passion for an outward-looking approach to both Britain, its different nations, and its neighbours close and far. A passionate fear of what Britain might lose in the process of departing from the EU. And the fear of loss does not concentrate on the loss of revenue or even on the probable obstacles to travel and artistic exchange once Brexit is in place. But the loss of ambivalence and ambiguity, the loss of conflicting opinions, texts, stances, diversity, in short: everything that culture, which is free to find its own forms of expression, is valued for.
We are grateful to all our contributors that they were willing to share, in particular at this early stage, their thoughts and feelings on Brexit’s impact on cultural production and reception.
And we’d be grateful to you, dear readers, if you let us know what you think about our ebook.
The ebook is available as an EPUB and a basic print version (PDF file). We plan to publish a print version in the winter semester.
* download link to EPUB file (approx. 2.4 MB, via dropbox)
* Brexit and the Cultural Sector (pdf) (approx. 4.7 MB, pdf file)
Have a wonderful summer and see you again in September!
Gesa and Sandra