Aosdana is elitist but that should not be a bad thing
The association needs to stop sulking and instead lead the charge for renewal
ONE, two, three, let's all raise a sneer at Britain's class-ridden, elitist society, so unlike our wonderful republic of equality, where everyone is called by their first name ... and above all, everyone is an artist. So let Samuel Beckett, John McGahern, Brian Friel, Sebastian Barry, Finghin Collins, John O'Conor, Tom Murphy, Camille Souter, Anne Madden, Dorothy Cross and Jennifer Johnston all get back in their elitist boxes and stay there.
That, in a nutshell, is what lies behind the incessant and unrelenting criticism of Aosdana, the self-regulating association of artists which is administered by a registrar from the Arts Council, but is independent of the council.
Many people, arguably the majority of those who are even aware of its existence, regard Aosdana as 'elitist' and therefore, in that time-worn, dreary phrase "not part of what we are". The truth is that it is elitist; but not elitist enough. Another problem is that its members buy into the populist notion that elitism is bad, and keep denying elitism.