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Cultural ecologies: Cultural labour, consumption, and inequality
Wed 11 May 2016, 16:00 – 18:00 BST
Prof. Mark Banks (University of Leicester) - Histories of Cultural Work: The Long Boom and Creative Opportunity
In recent years, there has been much public discussion about inequality in the cultural and media industries - especially in terms of the social distribution of work and employment opportunities. Yet, while the question of how opportunity is distributed in cultural work (and to whom) has become more pressing, this is also an issue that has been with us for some considerable time. The first aim of this talk, therefore, is to place current debates and trends within their historical context. In the 1950s, a time when cultural work began to be recognised as both prestigious and desirable, new worlds of employment were allegedly opening up to the mass population. But what evidence is there to support – or refute – the claim that cultural work offered job opportunities for ordinary people? Secondly, I want to argue that appreciating how cultural work first came to be regarded as accessible and meritocratic will help us to understand how it has more recently come to be seen as divided and problematic.
Prof. Kate Oakley (University of Leeds) - Culture and inequality: tying together consumption and production
While inequality in cultural consumption and lack of diversity in cultural labour markets, are both very ‘live’ topics, both researchers and policymakers frequently fail to consider them together. The presentation argues that doing so is vital, uses the example of Higher Education (HE) in the UK to think through the dynamic between cultural consumption and production. In doing so I hope to maps out a productive possibility for a new research agenda, by sketching where and how research might link cultural consumption and production to better understand inequality.
About the speakers:
Mark Banks is a Professor in the Department of Media and Communication at the University of Leicester. His research focuses on cultural industries, work and employment, cultural policy, music and media. He is currently writing about social justice in the cultural industries, the history of art schools, black British music, and the work of freelance dancers.
Kate Oakley is Professor of Cultural Policy at the University of Leeds. She writes about cultural labour, policy and the relationship to place.