In a break-away from a long established tradition, the Sunday edition of ‘Independent’ will stop publishing its arts section. The arts section had been enjoying good popularity over a number of years. This decision will be effective from the 1st of September, 2013.
The regular columnists Simon Price, Nicholas Barber and Tom Sutcliffe will be leaving the paper. They have been long associates of ‘Sindy’ (Sunday Independent Weekly). Visual arts critic Charles Darwent and theatre critic Kate Bassett will be the others who will quit. It is perceived that seven roles, mostly freelance, are being axed and that the cuts are in addition to plans to make 27 roles redundant at the Independent.
The last edition of the regular and popular arts section, ‘The Critics’, (in The Independent) will be published on 1st September.
The comprehensive coverage on music, film, and book reviews will not appear; The Independent on Sunday plans to rename its arts section in a move away from comprehensive music, film and book reviews.
The editor of the Independent on Sunday, Lisa Markwell, informed that the paper will continue to feature an arts section – but, it will not be led by reviews of books, films & films.
This move of doing away with art reviews is perceived to be a measure of cost-cutting exercise at the behest of the publishers of the papers The Independent & The Independent on Sunday, Evgeny Lebedev’s Independent Print newspaper group. Another perception is that the paper seeks to widen its coverage of arts in a fresh way.
Tom Sutcliffe, The Independent Columnist and TV reviewer was the paper’s first arts editor in 1986. He tweeted – ‘So, after a long marriage, it’s been decided that the Independent and I should start seeing other people again. Back in the game….’
The Independent columnist and TV reviewer Tom Sutcliffe, who was the paper’s first arts editor in 1986, will also leave the paper. Sutcliffe announced his departure in a tweet on Saturday: “So, after a long marriage it’s been decided that the Independent and I should see start seeing other people again. Back in the game….”
The film critic Derek Malcolm will be writing less frequently for the paper.
An insider’s observation: ‘It is certainly a sizeable bloodbath at The Independent on Sunday!’
Alison Wright, an arts publicist in London – ‘the axed section will leave a terrible gap in intelligent art criticism by newspapers. It is a devastating blow for arts coverage’.
For the visual arts, Charles Darwent has supplied highly knowledgeable art criticism as lead critic at the IoS for the past 13 years, often picking shows beyond the obvious blockbusters.”
Laura Davison, an assistant organizer at the National Union of Journalists – ‘It’s disappointing that management at the Independent are failing to engage in proper consultation with their journalists’. .

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