TMI Seminar – Piers Tattersall – Art as a Public Good

25 June 2014

The relationship between art and society is an old and complex one. Since the 1980s successive British governments have tried to gloss over this history via ‘instrumentalisation’ of artistic activity with a view to attainment of manifestly non-artistic ends. The result has been that it has become perceived near impossible to discuss artistic value in terms other than those of private taste. That in turn begs a question as to why art should be funded in any way at all by the public purse or promoted by those holding public office. This paper will examine the aesthetic causes of the present malaise, and explore possible conditions for recovery of the means for evaluating art in the public sphere.

The speaker is a pianist and composer who studied at the Royal Northern College of Music and the Royal College of Music. His works have been performed at Salisbury Cathedral, Cadogan Hall, and Peacock Theatre (Sadlers Wells), as well as broadcast on BBC Radio 3. He has worked with groups including The Britten Sinfonia, London Children’s Ballet, and The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and is artistic director of Present Tense, a project promoting music for piano and electronics. He is an Associate of the Thomas More Institute, with which he has been involved in various capacities for several years, devoting a portion of his time to research in respect of which this paper amounts to a ‘work in progress’ report.

If you are interested in attending please contact Piers Tattersall ( to receive an invitation.