Rushdie wants arts to be free from government interference
The discussion arose amid criticism surrounding the English National Opera’s (ENO) relocation away from London
Rushdie echoed comments made by Melvyn Bragg, who highlighted the increasing influence of the government on Arts Council decisions (Image Credit: Twitter)
Celebrated author Sir Salman Rushdie expressed his support for keeping the arts free from government interference at the South Bank Sky Arts Awards on Sunday (02).
The discussion arose amid criticism surrounding the English National Opera’s (ENO) relocation away from London.
Rushdie echoed comments made by Melvyn Bragg, who highlighted the increasing influence of the government on Arts Council decisions.
Rushdie, who received an Outstanding Achievement award, emphasised the importance of defending the arts and commended the fight against political intervention, The Telegraph reported.
Earlier in the event, Melvyn Bragg, who hosted the awards, backed ENO director Richard Jones’ criticism of the government’s request to move the organisation in exchange for additional funding.
Bragg emphasised the traditional “arm’s length principle” that governed arts funding without government involvement and urged arts professionals to resist such changes.
The ENO won the award for Best Opera for its production of Rhinegold.
The ENO is currently considering several cities as its potential new home, including Hull, Newcastle, Birmingham, Nottingham, Truro, and Manchester.
Meanwhile, the government has faced accusations of “cultural vandalism” for redirecting funding amounting to millions of pounds from renowned venues like the National Theatre and Royal Opera House.
Rushdie emerged as a major winner at the 27th South Bank Awards, held at the Savoy in London.
The author expressed his honour at receiving the award alongside other remarkable figures representing various art forms.
Notable winners of the night included Sally Wainwright’s Happy Valley for Best TV Drama and Tom Crewe’s debut novel The New Life, exploring homosexuality in 19th-century Britain, which secured the Literature Prize.
The theatre award went to Prima Facie, featuring Killing Eve star Judie Comer.
Reflecting on the event’s winners and performers, Bragg highlighted the continuous excellence of British artists across all genres.
He lauded the indomitable spirit of the arts in Britain as a shining example for other industries.