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Cultural Intermediaries Connecting CommunitiesRevisiting Approaches to Cultural Engagement$
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Phil Jones, Beth Perry, and Paul Long

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781447344995

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447344995.001.0001

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Introduction: Bringing communities and culture together

Introduction: Bringing communities and culture together

(p.1) Introduction: Bringing communities and culture together
Cultural Intermediaries Connecting Communities

Phil Jones

Beth Perry

Paul Long

Policy Press

Introducing the book as a whole, this chapter examines how the arts sector and wider creative economy are evolving, particularly in the context of austerity. The idea of cultural intermediation is introduced, building on the work of Pierre Bourdieu to examine how organisations and individuals attempt to use cultural activity as a tool to improve the lives of individuals living in deprived communities. Austerity economics has had a major impact on the work of intermediaries, with communities simultaneously made responsible for solving their own socioeconomic problems, while the institutions with the capacity to mitigate inequality have been eroded through funding cuts. The cultural deficit model is challenged, noting that exposure to arts activities in and of itself does little to overcome entrenched inequality and social exclusion. The chapter also introduces the wider case studies used within the book, primarily examining the UK, with a particular ethnographic focus on the neighbourhoods of Ordsall in Salford and Balsall Heath in Birmingham.

Keywords:   Cultural intermediation, Creative economy, Neoliberalism, Austerity, Cultural deficit

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