I’m about 85% sure I will be focussing on the image of the royal family as a vulnerable community. At a basic level, this includes a plethora of media, tv and film footage as well as strategic and political foreign image they have in preserving the historic image of Britain as a national treasuring its cultural heritage of colonialism, glory and imperialism.
I’ve been looking a bit into some compromises the Royals have had to make in recent years in order to appear less archaic (paying taxes, a growing agenda on the Court Circular and of course the recent royal wedding, praised for being less aloof than traditional practice), and conversely, actions made by Prince Charles (and detailed in his 1987 book A Vision of Britain) to challenge contemporary architecture and attempts at reinstating his view of what the image of British architecture should be, both in its form and what it should evoke with respect to an idealistic view of a glorious Britain that once was.
I’m now looking into the effects of such controversial views, notably Poundbury fire station and in a larger, potentially more damaging action, The Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment’s proposal to take over duties of CABE to become, ‘…arbiter of design in major planning applications…’
This is why I am unsure right now who exactly is the vulnerable community, the royals themselves or institutions such as CABE who, due to political and economic crises may have to subordinate their roles to potentially archaic and, dare I say, backward movements such as those spearheaded by Prince Charles.
Other thoughts recently have been focussed on other institutions who preserve, in other ways, the ideals of a Britain from another era. Namely, The British Museum. I am actually quite interested in pursuing this route of thought.
The British Museum houses many relics and treasures from across the world, many that have been acquired through a history of colonialism and imperialism. It is in effect a tour de force of the power that Britain once had throughout the world. I feel that, despite being presented as a world heritage that is ‘universal and free to all’, the fact that it is in London, and that it is sponsored by the British Dept for Culture, Media and Sport are all politically and ideologically relevant facts, leaving the British Museum stained with ideology and the implicit suggestion is that the British are not only the thing about which everything else orbits, but somehow that we are elevated above and destined to judge the rest of humanity.
As a result of this, there are some controversies surrounding some relics in the museum. There are ongoing debates surrounding the motion for repatriation of some key pieces. Maybe these care also possibilities of a vulnerable community. Politically charged, cultural identity under question and vulnerable to geopolitical tensions or friendships.
Lots of food for thought.