In the Words of John Causebrook
Dedicating the ISPA Academy to Anthony Field
The very fact that you, and I, are here today means that Tony Field is here with us too. For what Tony believed in most was the development of tomorrow’s arts leaders by the arts leaders of today. Just as family generations pass down knowledge and experience to help their children find fulfilment in the world, every year the global ISPA family reaches out to the emerging talent of their host country. That’s why Tony was so passionate about our ISPA family. It, and you, were his life.
So who was Tony Field? An actor before becoming an accountant, his unique vision empowered him to synergise finance and creativity in revolutionary ways. You can look on the website at anthonyfieldassociates.com for a biography of his many achievements, and you can read his writings to hear his views.
But I want to focus on his spirit, the qualities that made him a man who made history.
I was privileged to work with Tony for many years. Together we created the first ISPA Academy in Stockholm in 1998 and it has given us both immense satisfaction that every year the Academy grows stronger. The arts and education were Tony’s twin passions, and he spent every minute he could applying his knowledge and experience to build a better future for the arts and how they are created, managed and experienced.
Firstly, his belief was unshakeable. He believed in ideas and in people and he supported them wholeheartedly over decades, raising millions of pounds to build schools for the arts and theatres around the world and supporting several new generations of producers and managers; His sense of fairness and equality drove him to ingeniously pull the bricks from the wall of UK stage censorship until it fell; His vision for the arts and his extraordinary drive to make that vision a reality, by creatively diversifying the Arts Council of Great Britain until it had 11 subsidiary councils and a budget 300 times the size it was when he started; His declaration of faith in the future, made by personally creating and teaching the very first arts management courses; His unquenchably passionate speeches, inspiring audiences around the world who recognised the light inside him and leaned in to its glow; Always- ALWAYS- making time to talk to new producers and new members of the ever-expanding ISPA family. Every moment of Tony’s life was well-lived and savoured, doing what he loved - helping others.
You students here today have the most amazing opportunity to connect with and learn from many of the finest minds in the arts today. You arts leaders, who so generously share your experience and skill with the next generations, thank you - you are fulfilling Tony’s dream of a community of the arts which supports and renews itself, where there is always time to welcome and help those starting out on their creative lives.
If Tony could speak to you, he’d say this:
Believe in yourself and your vision, even when others don’t. Seize this experience with both hands and make every minute count. Make new connections, don’t let shyness stand in your way. And when you do achieve, as you will, pass it on, help others in the same way that you were helped.
I’d like to leave you with a piece of writing which meant so much to Tony. He copied it into his diaries year after year after year, and it became a part of his DNA, his reason for living. It was written by the Pulitzer-Prize winning writer Katherine Anne Porter. She wrote this:
“The arts live on continuously, unchanged, through times of interpretation, diminishment, neglect; they outlive governments and creeds and societies, even the very civilisations that produced them. They cannot be destroyed altogether because they represent the substance of faith; they are what we find again when the ruins are cleared away.”
Friend & Business Partner of Anthony Field