Star date: 8th July 2011 


"I believe the artist has an obligation to society..." Marina Abramovic

While financial cutbacks are being implemented all over the city Salford Council is spending £520,000 on three events for the Manchester International Festival and to "celebrate the BBC's arrival in Salford and the opportunities they and MediaCityUK will bring to the city".

Salford residents do get some free tickets which work out at £500 and £370 per ticket.

Full story here…

"I believe the artist has an obligation to society. I stage these situations with unpleasant things in front of the audience so they can reflect on me their own fears and anxieties…"

So says performance artist Marina Abramovic about her own show, The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic, being staged at The Lowry as part of the Manchester International Festival over the next week.

Salford at the moment is not short of `fears and anxieties', particularly with £40million worth of Council cuts hitting home, including a 15% cut across the  board for Salford's community arts companies.

The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic is a lavish production costing half a million pounds to produce, with a Salford Council grant of £150,000 - first revealed by the Salford Star back in December of last year (see here and here and here).

In return, the Council told us that tickets (not free tickets from what we can gather) "have been made available to young people studying drama at Salford City College and Salford University", while 300 free tickets for the dress rehearsal have been made available for Salford residents signed up to the Our Lowry scheme. That's costing Salford £500 per ticket to see a dress rehearsal by our calculations…

The Council is also "investing" a further £370,000 in two other events related to the Manchester International Festival - £220,000 towards the £450,000 Music Boxes project at the MediaCityUK Piazza, and £150,000 towards the £450,000 Punchdrunk collaboration with BBC Wales (Dr Who).

This £370,000, the Council argues, is from a budget agreed four years ago to "celebrate MediaCityUK's opening", and 1000 Salford children have been given free tickets to these shows – which works out at £370 each on our calculations.

As part of the deal, the Oily Carts theatre group from Music Boxes also spent two days working with from Springwood Primary School, turning the place into an `all singing and dancing beauty parlour for the children who have learning difficulties and autism'.

Salford Council Leader John Merry argues that the £520,000 spending on the Manchester International Festival and the BBC MediaCityUK arrival will bring investment into the city…

 "The money we committed to Manchester International Festival was agreed more than four years ago and is part of our plan to mark the arrival of the BBC to Salford and celebrate the exciting new opportunities MediaCityUK brings to the city.

"Manchester International Festival attracts people from all over the world to the region and we are keen to show what Salford has to offer.

"Two of the projects were commissioned as part of our plan to give children and families living in Salford the opportunity to come along to MediaCityUK and get involved in something completely different. We know from our experiences with the BBC Philharmonic, that exposure of this kind really raises children's aspirations and we think children in Salford deserve this.

"The recent budget cuts have been incredibly difficult for Salford but we are committed to continuing to regenerate the city to pull us through this difficult time. If we are to do this we need to continue to invest in things that bring investment into the city by increasing tourism, and give people living in the city access to different types of culture. People living in Salford should not be deprived of these opportunities and we firmly believe what we are doing is a good thing for Salford and its residents."









caroline wrote
at 20:59:47 on 23 October 2011
To James..I am a artist...I get no help what so ever...so talk..talk...I am from Manchester...can I be apart of your so called arts...Go to s Kingston for my e-mail if you are worth your salt..
Depressed wrote
at 06:44:55 on 14 July 2011
Yes---just look at the figures for how many people are depressed and on happy pills. They are all so f-king happy with everything in the city.
Nachtchlepper wrote
at 20:52:53 on 13 July 2011
James, no that is not the point the point is that most of us object to paying for someone else entertainment. If you want to see this kind of stuff pay the going rate. I'm sick of the same old same old from people who think that because something has cultural merit it should be paid for with public funds, it shoud not. If you really think that Salford is 'five times the place it was' then I suggest that you run, don't walk to the nearset psychiatrist. The city is one of the most dpressed places in the country & no amount of bullshit from you or any other council lackey will disguise that.
james wrote
at 20:51:37 on 12 July 2011
@Nachtschlepper But isn't that the point, 98% of our city are not aware of such cultural delights. Bring it on. Let's all close our eyes and stick with what we know. That will really change the world won't it. Maybe we could open a couple of mines and get the government to subsidise loss making industries until we become Greece. Look at European nations where the government plays a big part in industry, Greece, Italy, Spain, Ukraine is this what we want? Or a return to the days of the 1980's?? Manchester and Salford are 5 times the cities they were when I left in the late 90's, I returned due to the progress they made in art, the economy, education and crime reduction. Yes the publications are middle class which is where the tourist/investment £ sits.
Nachtschlepper wrote
at 18:18:30 on 12 July 2011
Ohh come on James, just go out on the streets and ask people who Marina Abramovic is. I reckon 98% will think she's Roman's missus. It is interesting that the publications you mention tend to have, in the main, a middle class readership. Furthermore if for instance a rock band were to appear at the Lowry would the council subsidise that. I can tell you, no they would not. So why should we, the people of Salford pay for something the vast majority have never even heard of. You want to go watch this stuff then pay the real price & don't expect the rest of us to subsidise your entertainment.
Brian Francis Kirkham wrote
at 14:59:58 on 12 July 2011
Happy, read your comment today and a broad grin appeared on my face, why? it's quite simple. Pop along to Traffords T.I.C by the council offices and take a look at their literature - Most of it is SALFORD, taken from the Trafford side of the canal!
james wrote
at 14:58:53 on 12 July 2011
@Nachtschlepper Sponsering an amateur football team has more effect than attracting productions which are viewed in the national press including thr Guardian and the telegraph. Not sure I can see the argument there. Also people know our city is football mad, let's show everyone there are other things to life here.
Quite happy wrote
at 09:24:33 on 12 July 2011
I would be quite happy if the council signed over the Quays/media city/bbc + orchestra over to trafford council and then spent the money that they "invest" in that lot in the rest of Salford.
jim devine wrote
at 07:35:10 on 12 July 2011
Brian and Nach dont worry about salfordians being neglected, just try not coughing up the community charge and see how much the council really does care for you. My guess is you will then be the centre of their attention but please dont ask to have some input into how your money is spent, we dont want to upset young James any further.....
The Truth wrote
at 16:03:40 on 11 July 2011
Notice how all the people Nacht mentioned no longer live in Salford? I would guess that most of the people who stay in those hotels on the Quays, hop on a tram into Manchester and spend their money there. Some of it will go into the shops on the Quays but I bet not much of it makes it up to Langworthy road etc. All we ever get from this crew of w-nkers is "it is good for the people of Salford". It does not matter whether it is some Mickey mouse triathlon, the orchestra or GIVING money to Peel holdings, it is always the same quote.
Brian Francis Kirkham wrote
at 16:03:33 on 11 July 2011
It would be great if, just for once, the current investment poured in by the local council produced opportunity for those actually living in the area. All these grand schemes are taking local residents on in a token capacity. Yes, if those coming to work here are living here (even if it is just in the GM region)that's great and i welcome that. I just go back to the Mediacity Inception promise where those in the know said they would 'engage' within the community, who's being employed on that site and in what capacity? If it's people from outside the area that doesn't aid those here looking for work is it?
Nachtschlepper wrote
at 16:02:20 on 11 July 2011
James you miss the point totally. John Merry's claim that these obscure productions raise the profile of the city is laughable. What I'm saying is if the council are serious in trying to raise Salford's profile then football has far more attention grabbing potential than obscure theatre productions.
mary ferrer wrote
at 07:31:56 on 11 July 2011
James as you have stated we don't want something for 20 minutes,we need long term investment,but I still don't see how spending £520.000 fits that need. I don't have a problem with the LOWRY the city give money each year,just a pity other parts of the city don't have any places of culture.what i do have a problem with is loans to people like Peel,building a community stadium with little consultation to find out if the COMMUNITY (Salford people ) want or need a stadium. Spend thousands on a festival that WE don't have,again with little or NO consultation. If these are WISE investments,may I ask why are they all done under PART TWO and not open to question,if these investments are safe and will be in the best interest to the people of Salford,then do it in the open. Getting back to City West when they took over our council properties I thought the staff and firms that did the work (builders and the like) would carry on working for them,but over a period of time,bit by bit the LOCAL workforce have been edged out and the work has gone to people outside the city, (LIVERPOOL and the WIRRAL )Jobs lost,business lost for Salford people. I would like to see the figures of how many Salford people have got jobs within the city over the last 12/18 months and what kind of jobs.
James wrote
at 22:41:38 on 10 July 2011
@ Mary Ferrer - can I just add I know nothing of city west and am unsure how these claims relate to the points I previously made.
james wrote
at 22:41:32 on 10 July 2011
Mary, Personally I live in Claremont and we are lacking in culture. However I see with inward investment things changing. We finally have places we can go to in our own city for enjoyment and fun. I personally have enjoyed a number of exhibits and plays at the Lowry recently. If it wasn't there and funding was pulled all my money would be spent in Manchester (as a great deal of it is currently). Just getting people visiting is a start Mary. These hotels are housing some people. Did you notice the Etap and Holiday Inn being built as Media City started. I don't want all my money spent on needless public services just to keep people in jobs in the short term as this is unsustainable. I want enough private investment to ensure that Salfords economy can improve for the next 20 years not the next 20 minutes.
mary ferrer wrote
at 19:02:11 on 10 July 2011
James I stand corrected. L S LOWRY 1887-1976. Born in STRETFORD, lived in PENDLEBURY for over 40 years. Do you know how many people have booked into SALFORD HOTELS for this festival?? So are you saying by spending £520.000 more people are going to be employed by the hotels and resturents what for a bloody week then off you go. This council don't give a dam about our need for culture unless it is at the quays or the BBC or Manchester. What about the people who live in Walkden,Eccles,Claremont,Broughton to name a few places within this city who have very little to shout about and will have to wait a bloody long time before they get £520.000 spent on them. This council won't protect our heritage,they want to give it away or knock it down. At this moment in time this is a crime to spend this amout of money on a festival when services within this city are being run on a shoe string or being stopped. I ask Mr Merry again who did he and his team of wasters ask within the communities of SALFORD if it was the best way to investment OUR money. I think Merry and his team have over the last few years INVESTERD A GREAT DEAL OF OUR MONEY with little or no return to the people of Salford. JOBS JOBS JOBS where and doing what. Also check how well our Hotels down at the LOWRY are doing, in fact check how well ALL the hotels in SALFORD are doing and please get back,let me know if there is a boom now WE have investerd £520.000 When it comes to LOCAL jobs and LOCAL BUSINESS fine out how many staff and LOCAL COMPANIES are now working for City west. Find out how many LOCAL PEOPLE HAVE BEEN SENT ON THEIR WAY and HOW MANY LOCAL FIRMS are NO LONGER employed by CITY WEST.I understood when they took over LOCAL people were protected????????
james wrote
at 19:00:53 on 10 July 2011
@ Nachtschlepper I couldn't bear to spell Lowry Lowery as the person in the previous had done. Culture is not football only.
Nachtschlepper wrote
at 14:01:44 on 10 July 2011
This city HAS culture. It has been growuing it's own for far too long for most of us to remember from the likes of Ewan Macoll, Graham Gouldman, Graham Nash, Albert Finney, Robert Powell. It's hard to take the grinning idiots down at the funhouse justifying this sort of cash when cuts are made elswhere. Furthermore if you really think that events like this raise Salford's profile you must be living in with the fairies. How many people ask you 'Who's leading the Halle these days?' I'll tell you none, zero zip. On the other hand you mention Manchester and the first thing people will talk about is football. So why not half a million for Salford City? Oh James check yer spelling unless you are thinking of another artist Lowry is the correct spelling.
James wrote
at 08:33:45 on 10 July 2011
Investment in the arts is key. Do you know how many jobs the Lowry (sic) creates through tourism and the local hotels which go hand in hand. Before the lowry how many hotels were on the Quays? How many restuarants? How many jobs? You might want top protect carers jobs which is admirable however investing in things which improve the economy do this in the long run by creating tax revenue. You can't just spend money in council you have to generate it from somewhere. In addition this city without culture needs all the art investment it can get when people are not even aware of how to spell the name of one of our greatest Artists.
mary ferrer wrote
at 19:54:28 on 08 July 2011
Well I have been reading the latest updates on this fantastic site. Am I shocked that OUR money has being given away yet again, NO is the answer. Now we all know PEEL god bless them need our hard earned cash to get their latest project off the ground. WE all want to give the Arts a few quid. We know that PEEL need to build on green belt land to keep them afloat, so you can understand why Derek wanted to push these plans forward. But its a bloody pity this council couldn't find this money to fund the carers and safe a few jobs. Make better use of OUR money, but some daft sods did vote this lot back in office and god help us next year they will have full run of our cash and Peel Salford Reds, The lowery or who ever comes along will get the cash in return for a few bloody tickets to watch a game of rugby or some show down at the Lowery where if you haven't a car and you live in parts of this city you won't be able to get there,thats if you could afford the tickets in the first place. I would like to ask Mr Merry why does he and his merry men think this total waste of our money is a good thing for the people of Salford, how many of the residents did he ask before he committed OUR money to this latest project. I take it the decision was another of their PART TWO (BEHIND CLOSED DOORS) We are all being treated like mushrooms "KEEP US IN THE BLOODY DARK AND SHOVEL AS MUCH S--T AS YOU CAN" The best bit is WE are letting them do it.
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