What can we expect of the arts in 2022? On the one hand, the measures taken to protect us against Covid-19 have imposed onerous restrictions on the arts, closing down theatres, museums, galleries and most other venues. But the arts seem to be returning to life with renewed (if somewhat cautious) energy.
On the other hand, controversy continues to dog the arts, whether it’s what to put on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square, sponsors and patrons with unsavoury histories, artists who fall foul of new moral codes, or increasing calls for censorship and cancellation. These controversies might help to keep the arts in the public eye, but what impact do they have on artistic development and production? What can we expect in terms of new work of artistic merit?
As 2022 gets started, after two years of hiatus and disruption, can we expect things to get better or worse? Are there any potential events or developments that we can anticipate with excitement or dread? How will the arts respond to the challenges likely to face us in 2022? How will each of the arts fare in the coming year?
A panel of specialists from different fields in the arts will offer their predictions – good and bad – and make a case for the worst or best we might expect. As ever, there will be plenty of time for audience discussion.
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Niall is a graphic designer and former publican who lives in East London. He has a longstanding interest in the history of popular music, and has written and organised debates on popular and classical. He sang tenor in the amateur chorus of the internationally-acclaimed Birmingham Opera Company. His passion for much of the last 30 years has been rare soul and American popular music more generally. He used to organise and DJ at monthly rare and Northern Soul nights in London and the Midlands.
Jonathan leads a thriving inward investment team at a London accountancy practice, serving and advising overseas clients that are investing in and trading with the UK. In this role he witnesses both the challenges and the opportunities that Brexit is creating. Away from his accountancy practice and publishing at jonathanbaz.com, Jonathan is a respected independent arts critic where he mainly reviews theatre along with the occasional movie too. As a features writer Jonathan was the last journalist to be granted an interview with film composer Ennio Morricone. With interests in international commerce, the arts and politics Jonathan is well placed to observe how the world and its trends are evolving. He has spoken at Academy of Ideas events and at international Chambers of Commerce across the USA, Europe and Asia.
Rachel is a British artist associated with the Stuckist movement. She graduated in French and Hispanic Studies from Sheffield and in fine art from the City Literary and has exhibited in various Stuckist exhibitions, including at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool. She worked as an artist and teacher in Singapore for several years and now earns her living as a teacher of English as a foreign language based in Essex. She continues to take a lively interest in contemporary developments in the visual arts.
Michael is the author of three novels. His first, La Rochelle (2010), was shortlisted for the James Tait Black Prize. His latest, The Treatment (2020), was ‘book of the year’ in the Daily Telegraph, the Morning Star, the Arts Desk, the i paper, and was a Sunday Times Crime Club ‘paperback of the week’. AN Wilson wrote that The Treatment will ‘stay in my head forever’ (The Tablet). In the Guardian, David Peace described The Treatment as ‘the book I wish I’d written’, adding, ‘it remains a mystery to me how that book did not win every prize going’. Michael is currently working on a novel about a tube-driver, his daughter and The Fall (the group). Michael teaches both creative and literary courses on the novel at the University of Westminster. He is married to the neuroscientist Sarah Tabrizi, and lives in London and Swansea.
Vicky is an architectural writer and curator. She recently became head of architecture and Drue Heinz curator at the Royal Academy of Arts where her first exhibition focuses on the architectural photographs of Hélène Binet (until 23 January 2022). Vicky was previously director of architecture, design and fashion at the British Council (2010 – 2016), where she commissioned the British Pavilion at Venice Architecture Biennale and organised major touring exhibitions and events around the world.