Neoliberalism and the Arts

This is rough draft of a paper I’m writing at the moment. I’m becoming increasingly concerned by the infiltration of arts and culture by neoliberal capitalism. The publication of the Cultural Cities Enquiry and launch of London’s Creative Land Trust this week are, I argue, clear examples of the neoliberalisation and corporate takeover of the arts. This paper attempts to begin to explain how and why neoliberalism has invaded the arts.

Art, artists & Marx’s base and superstructure theory by Black Socialists of America

I came across an amazing thread by the Black Socialists of America (BSA) on Twitter . It is really interesting and aligns with many of my own arguments about artwashing and the instrumentalisation of art and artists. BSA gave me permission to reproduce the thread as a blog post. It is essential reading for anyone involved in arts and cultural activities.

“We salvaged a slice of those streets in the sky” – an imagined conversation with Tristram Hunt

This is a very short response to the acquisition of a part of Robin Hood Gardens by the V&A museum.  An ex-council housing estate, being demolished.  I am horrified that a section will be displayed in the V&A galleries - once the social housing's been demolished and the working-class residents have been scattered.

This is an imagined narrative by Tristram Hunt, Director of the V&A, political parachutist and Steward of the Chiltern Hundreds...

An open letter to Simon Elmer & @ASH_Housing in response to “Ambition: The Green-eyed Twitter Troll”

Architects for Social Housing – or Simon Elmer and Geraldine Dening – have accused me of trolling and a whole lot of other things.  I have been rethinking my work in recent months and felt it was time to work together with people from a broad range of interests.  To admit I was being too purist.  To advocate for dissent and disagreement and for solidarity.  I still do.  I stand by my concerns about ASH but I also think they do a great job at raising awareness of the social housing crisis and advocating for the rights of social housing tenants.

This is an open response to Simon James Elmer who wrote the blog on ASH’s website accusing me of trolling.

Artwashing: Social Capital & Anti-Gentrification Activism

This is the text from my presentation delivered at Kings College London on Tuesday 13th June 2017.  It discusses artwashing, social capital, socially engaged art and anti-gentrification activism.  In the talk/text, I attempt to define five forms of artwashing and suggest that 'community artwashing' is the most pernicious and deceitful.  The paper is derived and developed from elements of my PhD research.

Wake up UK art & culture! I, Daniel Blake shames us all. We should be ANGRY!

I watched , Daniel Blake with my wife this weekend.  It left me feeling very, very sad and REALLY FUCKING ANGRY!

This is not a review nor a summary.  This is my personal attempt to come to terms with the FOUL WORLD we have all somehow managed to allow to creep into being!  I am SO FUCKING ANGRY!

On Location – Unwelcome!

WHAT?!? £350 per head stalking tours around Southwark for agents of #gentrification! RESIST! via @HousingActionSL

Housing Action Southwark & Lambeth

Tomorrow, New London Architecture (NLA) are hosting “On Location” – a day long event, with walking tours in and around Southwark throughout the afternoon. Attendance at the event costs a ridiculous £358.80 per ticket (unfortunately Housing Action Southwark and Lambeth couldn’t afford that!)

The aim of the walking tours is for Southwark and its eager property developing partners to point out ‘regeneration’ opportunities across the borough – in their own words, the tours will ‘look at the areas of major development opportunity in the borough of Southwark, looking at the Council’s forward strategy for Elephant and Castle, Old Kent Road, Peckham and Canada Water’ so that they can ‘discuss what these key strategic areas for London need to do to maximize their development potential’.

HASL and residents of Southwark are all too familiar with the effects of the social, economic and political forces at work and social cleansing in our communities…

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Participating without power: The limits of instrumentalised engagement with people & place

This is a copy of my abstract submitted for the forthcoming Creative People and Places conference entitled (unbelievably) People, Place, Power.  It was rejected.  Perhaps it was not academic enough or badly written?  Or perhaps it might have been a little challenging for some panel members?  Anyway, I stand by my words... Make a Wish,…Read more Participating without power: The limits of instrumentalised engagement with people & place

Assemble Useful Art. Call it Socially Engaged. Everyone’s a (Turner Prize) Winner!

I’m an art historian.  A critical art historian.  Context is as important as text (artwork) to me.  Works of art, whether “art” made by “artists” or “not-art” made by “not-artists”, “fine art” or “craft” or “popular”, object- or process-based, aesthetic or anti-aesthetic, must be carefully considered for the functions they play within and their interactions…Read more Assemble Useful Art. Call it Socially Engaged. Everyone’s a (Turner Prize) Winner!

Hurrah, the Culture is Finished!

This blog post initially vented some of my concerns about cultural policy and cultural value in particular. Nearly two years old, its premise still drives much of my practice and research.

Comments and discussion most welcome…

colouring in culture

This mini-essay was first published on the #culturalvalue initiative website on 5th January 2014. I’m reblogging it here with their introduction.

Stephen’s witty and well researched mini-essay contribution to The #culturalvalue Initiative originated in a lively twitter conversation that followed the publication of Daniel Allington’s guest post, Intrinsically cultural value: a sociological perspective in early December 2013. The conversation started off as a debate on the merits of Bourdieu’s work in pushing forward the cultural value debate and soon broadened to the relative merits of different disciplinary approaches. I was fascinated by the exchange between Stephen and Daniel, but it soon became apparent that it was more complex than a twitter debate could cope with. So, I invited Stephen to write a short guest post response to Daniel’s piece so that interesting conversation could continue on this site. This would allow to keep a permanent record of it and…

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