Cultural Ecologies: Policy, Participation, Practices

2020-02-06T10:34:01Z (GMT) by Lisanne Gibson
This chapter will discuss the case of cultural participation and practice over the last 40 years in the town of Gateshead in the North-East of England. It will ask how do already existing cultures of practice in a place, both those facilitated by state-supported cultural programmes and everyday cultural practices, interact with policy to effect and shape the local cultural ecology? The analytical approach moves away from more macroaccounts of cultural policy discourse and also moves beyond those accounts which consider the specifics of cultural policies in place. What these approaches do not account for is the agency of local cultural practice and its fundamental influence on the development and implementation of cultural policy and programmes. Thus, in this chapter I bring a new perspective to the well-established thinking on culture-led development, ‘place making’ and related literatures by arguing for the importance of local histories of cultural participation and practice in understanding the history and development of cultural policy. Understanding the historic local contexts of cultural participation and cultural practice is key to accounting for the ways in which cultural policies are shaped and implemented within a cultural ecology. In turn, I have argued that a cultural policy grounded within the vernacular cultural practices of place is best able to facilitate cultural participation and practice in a way that develops and supports cultural and social ecosystems.

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