The so-called 'Festival of Brexit' is poorly-timed, provocative and parochial, writes Tom Morton. It is a battleground in a culture war the Government may not win.
'How might the UK’s cultural institutions celebrate something that at least half of the country regards with fear and loathing? Such is the dilemma forced on arts leaders by the Conservative Party’s plans to stage a Festival of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in 2022 or, as the Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg has described it, a ‘Festival of Brexit’. Inherited from former Prime Minister Theresa May, this initiative has been taken up with gusto by Boris Johnson. Should he win December’s general election, two years from now he will be cutting the ribbon on what a Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) press release calls ‘an exciting programme of events on arts, culture, design and tech across the country’ showcasing ‘the UK’s unique strengths in creativity and innovation’ to ‘help attract new inward business and investment’ to the post-Brexit nation. DCMS’s erstwhile Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Lord Ashton of Hyde, has said that ‘we expect our excellent and vibrant museum sector to play an important role’ in the festivities. The noble Lord didn’t conclude this sentence with ‘or else’, but the message was clear enough.' ... Keep reading on Frieze