The obituary of Roy Shaw, former Director General of the Arts Council, has prompted me to reflect on the differences between our current system of arts funding and the situation 30 years ago.
Born in Sheffield to a poor family, Shaw rose to become the Professor of Adult Education at the University of Keele. It was from this position that he was recruited to run the Arts Council in 1975.
Two things are surprising about this: first of all that he was an educationalist, with a background in Workers’ Education, and secondly (my main point here) that he did not belong to the London arts establishment. Would such an appointment happen now, I wonder?