At Arm's Length

Geraint Talfan Davies
Publication Date: 
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
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Devolution to Wales and Scotland may prove to have been the most profound change in the UK in recent years. The consequences are far-reaching, and not just political. Geraint Talfan Davies, media and arts executive for more than three decades, recalls and reflects on the impact of this development for culture and civil society.

A view from well beyond the M25 – informed by Wales and the North East of England – his experiences have a resonance and a significance for all parts of ‘a lazy British union’; charting the decline of regional newspapers, the collapse of ITV’s regional mission, the London-centric nature of the media and a threat to the independence of the arts.

At Arm’s Length includes a graphic account to a successful battle to maintain the arm’s length principle in arts funding and a plea for a greater role for the arts in society. It also portrays a small and fledgling democracy, and it’s struggle to sustain a local, national voice in the face of the contemporary forces of globalisation and the increasing centralisation of government and the media.
“The story is beautifully told, with diary entries, dramatic suspense, humour and wickedly accurate pen portraits all brought into play.” Peter Stead, New Welsh Review, May 08
“From the cover of his book Talfan looks out from a magnificent portrait taken by his daughter-in-law Betina Skovbro. The neat, clean-cut features are unmistakable, as is the glint of adolescent mischievousness in the eyes. The text within is as revealing as the portrait.” Peter Stead, New Welsh Review, May 08


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