A matter of foundations

Toni Attard, Jake Xuereb, Matthew Attard, Francesca Cassar, Karen Muscat

During this session, our participants discussed and played with the idea of ‘value’ and ‘values’. From how our personal ethics affect policy making, to what constitutes a meaningful structure from which to perceive and assign value. As encountered in previous sessions, education seems to be a perennial gripe. This time, the conversation turned toward what kindles passion and ignites the imagination of students. How limited exposure during formative years results in excluding a large part of the population from tapping into the essential playfulness needed to discover an interest in a particular subject. This is not limited to the creative subjects but is even related to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), where the current focus on utilitarian application falls flat of inspiring real engagement with the subjects.

201 – My Madonna is Better Than Yours

How can the subjective personal values of policymakers affect the nature of policy? Do all different cultures deserve a seat at the table? What are the markers of high and low art and where should a line be drawn? Should it be drawn at all?

202 – At The Edges

We are steeped into the western canon and this affects how we relate to the human condition. How does this affect our societal values? Furthermore, how does this canon curate itself? What actions should we take to make it more accessible? How do we decide what ideas to keep and which to let go of? How can we use points of convergence between different sensibilities and disciplines to create new ideas?

203 – Why is The Sky Blue?

What actions can we take to instil a better mode of imparting the beauty of different subjects, scientific and creative? Imparting a sense of value beyond the utilitarian seems central to the equation.

204 – The Tables Turn

The nature of value can be qualified by different perceptions.. Exposure to divergent points of view informs how we perceive this value and in turn, changes it. How can we extract modes of behaviour from different sectors to apply across others? Can the corporate sector’s attitude to research and development shed any light on this?

205 – Throughlines

Passion needs to be discovered, play is a necessary mode of exploration that allows us to uncover what our subjective passion is. The organic process of exploration through play bears its fruit in a disjointed manner but if one decides to look for a throughline one inevitably can map this. The counterbalance to this is ‘risk’ – how do we justify the cost of opportunity of play? Figuring out the real parameters of this play is necessary. How is innovation shaped by market forces and when should a new idea be pushed beyond what these forces are indicating?

206 – Protest Art

What keeps the sector ‘legitimate’? Who are the gatekeepers, are they still relevant? The democratisation of the arts brings with it a more difficult ecosystem to navigate. This may lead to a fragmented sector. How can democratic contributions to our popular canon be centralised so that it can proliferate effectively? Can we use protest-art to infer the needs and abuses of the current system? Furthermore, how should we unpack these qualms and sort a balanced way forward?

207 – Who do I Value?

The lines of demarcation of value within the creative sectors are fluid. The difficulty in how we evaluate the creative sector creates challenges that affect the economic stability of actors within the sector. How do we sort which aspects of the work to elevate? How do we transmit this notion of value to the economic spector as to to stabilise strong economic pathways for creators?

208 – The First Thing We Need To Do

Relevance scales to the subjectivity of the popular context – art can only capture the imagination if it’s relevant. Having the necessary education to unpack and process specific forms of art is.