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BCMCR Research Seminar: Creative Industries

November 21, 2018 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

BCMCR Research Seminar – Creative Industries: Hope on the margins
1600-1730 Wednesday 21 November 2018
C284, Curzon B, 
Birmingham City University
Dr. Jonathan Gross (Kings College London) Practices of Hope? Care, Creativity and the Possibilities of Cultural Policy
Depending on your feelings towards Brexit, right-wing populism, and climate science, it may seem that hope is currently in short supply. But hope and optimism are not the same thing (Eagleton 2015). Optimism may be a more-or-less arbitrarily assumed view that things will go well, potentially involving a complacent complicity with the injustices of the present. Hope, by contrast, is the deep sense that our actions matter, even when we can’t be sure when or how they will make a difference (Solnit 2016). This paper, building on the work of Oliver Bennett (2015), argues for the importance of understanding the conditions that enable and constrain hope, and the implications this may have for cultural policy. It draws on the capabilities approach (Sen 1999; Nusbaum 2011), showing that this particular framework for social justice can help clarify hope, and why it matters. The second half of the paper brings together these theoretical insights with analysis of fieldwork conducted in one outer London borough, and the versions of hope (and its absence) within the lives of young people there. The paper concludes by suggesting that understanding hope, and its conditions, is not a peripheral concern. It is an urgent political question, hiding in plain sight.
Dr. Maria Barrett (University of Warwick) Borders and Hinterlands: The Case of Liverpool’s Royal Court Theatre
Liverpool’s Royal Court Theatre straddles multiple borders: sociological, cultural, spatial, and political. Some of these it successfully exploits, using strategies of subversion within its field of Liverpool theatre, and using its outsider status as a way of engaging and embracing an outsider audience. Other borders it has perhaps the victim of, existing on the edges of the valorisation (and fiscal security) bestowed by major revenue funding. Meanwhile, the Royal Court’s working-class audience members have successfully overcome the barrier of attending a valorised cultural venue and, through exploiting its liminal spaces, made it into a shared, convivial place in which they can find a sense of belonging analogous to other, more socially congruent fields. This presentation will examine the Royal Court Liverpool’s borders and hinterlands, and ask how it has managed to subvert, negotiate, and exploit living on the edge, and also ask whether its success in negotiating those borders and leaving its hinterlands will perhaps threaten its future.
About the speakers:
Dr. Jonathan Gross is a Teaching Fellow and Researcher in the Department of Culture, Media & Creative Industries, King’s College London.
Dr. Maria Barrett is an academic and researcher in the fields of cultural sociology, cultural policy, and audience studies. She is currently Assistant Professor in the Centre for Cultural and Media Policy Studies at the University of Warwick, where she teaches Cultural Policy and Arts Management. Maria is currently part of the consortium evaluating the National Theatre’s Theatre Nation Partnerships, a strategic touring project to develop new audiences for drama in target areas across England. She is contracted to Palgrave-Macmillan for a monograph on class and theatregoing, looking at working class audiences at the Royal Court Theatre in Liverpool. Before coming to academia, Maria was an arts practitioner, entrepreneur and manager in the performing arts, and she has also been a theatre director and performer.


November 21, 2018
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
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