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Title: Cultural labour in the context of urban regeneration : artists' work in Margate and Folkestone
Author: Ward, Jonathan
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis engages with debates around cultural work and culture-led regeneration by exploring the working conditions encountered and experienced by visual artists who have located in Margate and Folkestone, two towns in Kent (South East England) which have pursued culture-led regeneration. It draws on, and contributes, to critical debates on cultural labour and the conditions of cultural work as well as long-standing debates around culture and creativity as drivers of urban regeneration. It establishes the ways in which artists’ labour is integral to culture-led urban policies, and further critically explores the quality of such work, looking at the conditions under which it proceeds, and the values and meanings individual workers ascribe to it. The thesis demonstrates that culture-led urban strategies represent a locus of economic exploitation for the artists implicated in them. This accords with other studies that provide evidence of artistic, and other forms of cultural, labour as wholly beset by economic and social structures that instrumentalise cultural value, and undermine any intrinsic value or meaning to cultural labour. However, this thesis also provides a ‘defence’ of artists’ work. While noting the continuing inequalities, marginalisation and exclusionary effects of neoliberal working conditions and practices, this thesis demonstrates that creative cultural work is not fully colonised by the market, and that within the cultural industries there remains the possibility of ‘good work’. This thesis concludes that although economic exploitation and insecurity are common, workers are able to draw upon pre-existing cultural discourses that sometimes allow them to produce value and meaning in their work in ways that evade capitalist logics.
Supervisor: Hubbard, Philip ; Miller, Vincent Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: H Social Sciences ; HF Commerce ; HM Sociology