Art Market

Jeremy Wright has been named the U.K.’s new culture minister amid Theresa May’s cabinet reshuffling.

Benjamin Sutton
Jul 11, 2018 2:49PM, via The Stage

James Bond films may not be most people’s idea of high art, but the U.K.’s new culture secretary is a professed 007 buff. Jeremy Wright, an attorney general for the past four years, has been appointed to head the Department of Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DMCS) amid a reshuffling of Prime Minister Theresa May’s cabinet following the departures of Boris Johnson and David Davis. His predecessor in the role, Matt Hancock, had just taken over the role in January and has been named health secretary as part of the restructuring.

Wright is the sixth person tapped to lead DMCS since 2012 (and the third under May), and his cultural interests and inclinations remain largely unknown. His record as a Member of Parliament and a criminal barrister offers some hints, though. For instance, as Arts Professional points out, he has been an outspoken supporter of offering music lessons in prisons as part of the rehabilitation process. His belief in the power of music education may come in part from personal experience; his official bio notes that he was once an avid trumpet player but “can barely get a note out of the instrument these days.” His parliamentary bio, meanwhile, lists among his interests “travel, especially to the USA, music, James Bond films and playing golf badly.”

“Very excited to be starting a new job this morning as Secretary of State at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport,” Wright said in a statement following his appointment, “a department whose work has a huge impact on our heritage, the things we enjoy now and on our national future.”

However scant Wright’s cultural experience and interests may be, many observers are more concerned about his ability to live up to the Digital part of his mandate. He has not posted anything on Twitter since 2015, and according to journalist Ross Kempsell, Wright only uttered the word “digital” twice during his more than 13 years in parliament. His predecessor Hancock, on the other hand, released his own app.

Benjamin Sutton
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