Civil society happens in the public space – outside party politics or the family home or work place – of collective experience. Within civil society arts and culture play a key role in driving and mediating change. Works of art are peculiarly responsive to the socioeconomic and cultural context in which they are made. They prompt curiosity about the present, drive reflection on the past and spark speculation about the future, from the singular perspectives of creative individuals. Works of art are propositions, made in the speculative space of culture, and the museum is a container where multiple individual viewpoints are set in constant creative dialogue. When art is genuinely open and democratic, a rich diversity of cultures can connect through art, even when language fails. The museum of the 21st century is a microcosm of civil society.
Frances Morris – Director, Tate Modern