Melvyn Bragg to address the House of Lords tomorrow on why art matters for new Sky Arts special

Wednesday 31 January 2024

The arts are in crisis. Substantial reductions in funding for the arts by government and local councils, the marginalisation of arts in the school curriculum and at universities, together with the lingering after-effects of the pandemic have taken their toll. Melvyn Bragg, whose life and work has been dedicated to throwing the arts open to everyone, will address the House of Lords tomorrow to make his case for why the arts in Britain matter, as he opens a debate on our cultural life.

Lord Bragg’s address will be captured for a brand-new Sky Arts special, Art Matters, airing later this year. A passionate manifesto for placing the arts at the centre of British life, this feature-length film will see Melvyn and special guests explore the power of the arts to enrich our lives, strengthen our communities and our democracy, supercharge the economy and shape the future. Melvyn will also reflect on his own life experiences and transformative artistic encounters, and he’ll make the case for why the next generation deserve greater opportunities for self-expression and social mobility.

Lord Melvyn Bragg commented: “I think we should step up and declare ourselves to be the country of the arts. The arts employ millions of skilled people – from television to painting to popular music to film and theatre and dance. The arts bring billions into the exchequer, more than most industries. It’s time the arts stopped being thought of as the cherry on the cake. We are the cake!” 

Phil Edgar-Jones, Director of Sky Arts, commented: “We are supporting Lord Melvyn Bragg’s call to arms in support of the creative industries. No one understands the importance of the arts more than Melvyn, who has championed their contribution to our economy, our global reputation and our general wellbeing and happiness throughout his career.”

Nick Kent, Creative Director of Oxford Films, commented: “Melvyn occupies a unique place in our cultural life. Just as David Attenborough has enriched our understanding of the natural world and alerted us to the reality of climate change, there is no one better placed than Melvyn to spotlight the cultural crisis we are facing and what we can do about it.” 

Watch the speech live on Parliament TV tomorrow, Thursday 1st February.

Art Matters will air on Sky Arts, Freeview and NOW later this year.

Art Matters was commissioned by Phil Edgar-Jones, Director of Sky Arts and Entertainment, for Zai Bennett, Managing Director of Content for Sky UK and Ireland. The Commissioning Editor for Sky is Leanne Cosby. The programme is produced by Oxford Films. The Executive Producer is Nick Kent. 

Notes to Editors

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