Revealing and re-valuing cultural intermediaries in the 'real' creative city: Insights from a diary-keeping exercise
AbstractFrom critics and cultural commentators to professionals who mediate between production and consumption for economic gain, the term ‘cultural intermediaries’ has been variously interpreted over recent decades. Often framed as self-interested entrepreneurs seeking to maximise economic value the wider set of political, social and moral motivations of cultural workers have been often overlooked.Drawing on a diary-keeping exercise with 20 cultural workers in Greater Manchester and Birmingham in 2013, we suggest that a ‘third’ wave of studies of cultural intermediaries is needed, which emphasises socially engaged practices and non-economic values. The study reveals a field of cultural work which mediates between professionalised and everyday cultural ecologies, one which is often invisible and undervalued. Combining methodological insights into diary-keeping as a reflexive exercise, the study suggests that we should reclaim and re-value the term ‘cultural intermediary’ to make visible this socially grounded cultural work, particularly in the current era of austerity and cuts to the arts in England.
Perry, B., Smith, K. and Warren, S. (2015) Revealing and re-valuing cultural intermediaries in the 'real' creative city: Insights from a diary-keeping exercise. European Journal of Cultural Studies, 18 (6). pp. 724-740. ISSN 1367-5494