Not an ACE move
Story emerged at the weekend that Dame Liz Forgan, Chair of Arts Council England has been asked to leave her post when her term ends by Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt. The news, which The Guardian put as having left key figures in the arts world ‘in dismay’, certainly came as a shock. Forgan and ACE Chief Executive Alan Davey have overseen one of the most turbulent times in recent memory, emerging with widespread credit and respect at their handling of restructuring of ACE funds in line with government austerity drive. This however wasn’t enough for Hunt who believes that ACE need a leader who is in touch with the digital initiatives for the arts. Hunt’s office commented that “it was better to have a chair to embrace these challenges who has experience of these areas”. This is a pathetic statement. Clearly digital working methodologies need to be fully implemented in order to progress, but to suggest Forgan, 67, is no longer suitable (due to age perhaps?) is a poor decision. It is not hard to take The Guardian’s angle on it being a politically motivated piece of maneuvering. Either way, it will be interesting to see who Hunt proposes can tackle his mandate of embracing digital working, if it was ever the primary reason.