The former director of the Institute of Contemporary Arts says that role of creative pursuits today is to help us examine the awkwardness of our culture and find the things that bind us together.

This article titled “Video: Ekow Eshun defends the arts” was written by Nancy Groves, for guardian.co.uk on Friday 27th January 2012 15.28 UTC

“Have any of us learned enough from history to meet the challenges of the future?” asked Fiona Reynolds, director general of the National Trust, in her speech from the recent Sussex Conversation on culture and heritage. We learn from the past, certainly, but what and how? As Reynolds' fellow panelist at the event, Ekow Eshun, pointed out: “The path of history and of heritage and of culture is not straightforward, is not unbloody, is difficult, is dissonant.”

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