As a child of Northern Ireland I am used to rolling my eyes in disbelief as our elected representatives make decisions which better….. nobody. I am used to not understanding how such hate filled statements can roll out of the mouths of those who supposedly represent us and our better interests. Nothing changes, nothing gets better and it seems like we’re always on the losing side. I feel like, my whole life, we’ve been sittin’ on the naughty step, continually punished for something we haven’t done. And now, to sprinkle lemon juice in the wound, the government wants to remove funding from some of most vital cultural events…without even a thought, without even a consultation process. The rug is gone, taking with it the hardwood floor and all the furnishings.
The arts in Northern Ireland is the one breath of fresh air in the midst of our historical angst. It is the one place where people can band together and recognise kindred spirits without even thinking about our perceived religious or political identity. It is the vibrant lifeline of a city, of a country, that needs to break out of the mould of what we once were and realise who we are going to be.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs looks like this:
It tells us that as part of reaching the ‘Self Actualisation’ stage which involves recognising talent and creative pursuits, we need to work through these other levels. Here’s where my problem with the cuts comes in.
The government consistently takes things away from us. They cut services to benefits and hospital resources, meaning that the lower physiological and safety levels are hard to achieve. They tell us who we can or cannot marry or date meaning that the love and belonging stage is unachievable and now they cut our access to creative culture, which means we will not be able to achieve the top two levels of esteem and self actualisation. The government and our elected ones are continually chipping away at everything that we should be working for to become well-rounded human beings. Is it any wonder that they find it so easy to throw the same small-minded barbs at one another? We are essentially struggling underneath the weight of this triangle. We are so low there isn’t even a level for us yet.
These things make me very upset and frustrated and I also worry about those who are coming behind us, who will, if we don’t get our finger out, never have access to the arts and culture. We must stand together and do something to stop this idiocy from going any further.
Other people have written far better than I on the subject and I encourage you to check out the following posts:
Adam Turkington (@AdamTurks) Culture Night Director
Scott Edgar (@thesneakybandit)
Conor Shields (@ConorJShields)Community Arts Partnership
You should also follow the debate on Twitter using the hashtag #lightsoutni
And on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LightsOutNI?fref=ts
You should also write to your MP: https://www.writetothem.com/