Intellecual art

3rd July 1998 at 01:00
THE conference's most challenging questions were perhaps posed in an after-dinner speech by Professor Ken Robinson, the Man Employed To Advise Ministers on Cultural and Creative Education.

The speech took in fellow Liverpudlian Sir Paul McCartney ("What do you say to a living legend? I thought, 'Hi, Paul'), a convoluted conversation with a civil servant about why the arts no longer figure in some teacher-training subjects ("because the arts are not a subject"), and how Picasso could have got a doctorate by studying his works but not by creating them.

"How is it that writing about novels is a higher intellectual calling than writing novels? If writing novels is not an intellectual activity, how is it that writing about them is?" he asked. Answers on a postcard, please.

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