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18-21st June 2013

I received some good news recently. I’ve been selected to take part in a highly selective forum for early career scholars who are engaged in research related to the creative economy. The conference hosted by the Martin Prosperity Institute, University of Toronto, brings together 25 individuals from around the world to share and discuss their research. During the four day programme we’ll be looking at opportunities to develop methods and collaborate, as well as exploring the creative scenes and neighbourhoods of Toronto.

For the conference I’ll be presenting a paper entitled:

Local governance, community commissioning and intermediation in the creative economy

Here is my abstract which provides some more detail on the topic:

“Birmingham is at cross-roads in its governance of the creative economy. The second largest city in the UK, Birmingham has high levels of unemployment and inequality, the youngest population in Europe and its ethnic profile is projected to be majority minority by 2020. Contradictions in its cultural policy strategy include ambitions to develop a global city for culture and creativity, with simultaneous cuts in investment from local government and regional arts bodies resulting in a downward trend of arts provision in educational and community spaces.

Tracing processes of cultural intermediation (Bourdieu 1979; Woo 2012), this paper investigates the methods of connecting communities in the creative economy through self-organizing neighborhood arts groups. Balsall Heath, one of Birmingham City Council’s Priority Neighborhoods with multiple social deprivations, is a testing ground for new community-led budgeting and community culture commissioning pilots. Emerging arts infrastructure include Ort, a commercially run café, music and arts space with an ethos of community engagement, and Balsall Heath Biennale, a local partnership, who investigate what the role of artists can be in the 21st century through neighborhood practice.

Policy associated with the ‘Big Society’ (Cameron 2010), with emphasis on localized and distributed forms of governance alongside reductions on public spending, is transforming the role of the state and cultural organizations. Using the case studies of Ort and Balsall Heath Biennale, this paper investigates the increased expectation placed on community-driven initiatives and a climate of major cuts to public services to conceptualize the future of intermediation in the creative economy.”

Once the programme is finalised by Dr Melanie Fasche of University of Toronto I’ll post it here to give further information on discussants et al.