This conference embodies an important principle: the arts are not neutral. At a time of great existential danger, the ideas that lie behind our work can illuminate a way forward, and know the past in order to understand the present.
Politicians will make compromises, but artists should affirm lasting principles – tell the reality to undermine the propaganda.
The great American singer, Paul Robeson, was an artist who stood in solidarity with the working class across the world. He said: ‘Artists are the gatekeepers of truth. They are civilisation’s radical voice.’
I hope this conference will enable our radical voice to be heard loudly and clearly.