I-H posted these comments in the "Dancers against war"
topic and the Moderators have decided to move it here as this is where we discuss Board policy matters. I have reopened the "Dancers against War" topic, but please discuss here the Board issues raised, rather than there.
I- H wrote:
Put simply, CriticalDance is not the place to debate the pros and cons of political or military action, despite the acknowledged importance of this issue for all of us. The Moderators have decided to edit this topic to bring it in back in line with this policy statement and we will take action quickly if we believe that the discussions move again into areas that are not appropriate for CriticalDance.
But if the dance event itself was a comment on the deployment of troops in Iraq then surely it is the proper place to discuss such issues. Art is political Librarian whether you wish to accept that or not. And criticism is by its very nature an attempt to dissect the value and effectiveness of the art in question how well it has achieved it's goals.
Perhaps the reason for the low-profile of performance arts within the world arena or rather the reason for its lack of credibility are views such as yours which seek to disenfranchise arts from their social context.
Sorry I-H, but that's not the way we see it. CriticalDance is a dance website and we discuss dance and matters relating to dance. Political matters can arise directly from the themes that dance works address, from aspects such as gender issues that are implied in the works and from matters such as arts funding. However, we took a decision some time ago that CriticalDance was not the place to discuss the underlying political issues, separately from the dance context.
Thus, at the time of the last US election, we discussed the arts funding policies of the two parties, but we did not discuss other policy issues or the contested result. Similarly, we discuss the works of Christopher Bruce based on oppression in South America, but we do not discuss the situation in those countries in detail.
There are various reasons for this policy:
- Dance is the common interest that has brought us together. Early on we discussed having a non-dance topic and decided against it as our resources are limited and we have chosen to focus on the under-resourced world of dance. In short, we do not have the manpower to monitor discussions of opera, politics or other worthwhile themes.
- The major papers and a multiplicity of other sites have forums to discuss political themes. We would not be adding value by duplicating these other arenas.
- There are sharp differences of views between us here on a range of political matters, but we choose to "leave these at the door" so that we can work together on behalf of dance. Pragmatically, discussions on these issues could run out of control very quickly and our courtesy rule come under great pressure that we do not have the resource to meet.
Turning to the "Dancers against war" topic, the Moderators see no problem with reporting on the event and discussing the merits or otherwise of the performances and, if people wish, whether the dance work was effective in changing hearts and minds. However, the pros and cons of a possible war against Iraq are a different matter and we will keep discussions within the guidelines described above. In line with this we made changes and deletions to effect this policy. Librarian carried out the exercise agreed by the Moderators.
There will be grey areas where we have to make a judgement, but as with other Board matters, those will be decisions for the Moderators.
On the separate question of whether the arts should address social themes, another topic has been started, "Dance, - Art or Propaganda ?"
and I look forward to a range of views on this topic.
<small>[ 11 February 2003, 04:04 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>