Turn over programming and curation to the people
by Stella Duffy
It is time for the BBC to move away from the Reithian idea of being the teacher of the nation and acknowledge that the nation is now well capable of teaching itself.
The theatre director Joan Littlewood said ‘Everyone an artist or a scientist’. In Fun Palaces, our 21st-century incarnation of the (never-built) Fun Palace idea she envisioned with Cedric Price, we say ‘Everyone an artist, everyone a scientist’. We believe in everyday artists and citizen scientists. We can empower ourselves, we can enable ourselves, and we can – together – make a difference in our everyday lives.
We can choose to use culture, not as an adjunct to or a getaway from the ordinary, but as the base of the extraordinary. Sciences and arts ask who are we, what are we, what is humanity, and where is our place in the world, in the universe? Ordinary people, everyday people, are far better placed to answer this question than celebrities, who have too much to hide, and experts, who have too much to lose.
Let’s turn over programming and curation to the people. Let’s ask the people what they’re passionate about. Let’s not have it presented or edited or otherwise channelled for us, let’s trust the people to speak to the people (nation shall speak peace unto nation). Be it for merely one hour, or one day, or one week – across the whole BBC – let’s give the BBC back to the people. I bet they make something wonderful.
Stella Duffy (@stellduffy) is a writer, theatre-maker and co-director of the Fun Palaces campaign
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