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Title: An Interdisciplinary Examination of the Interpretation and Delivery of Social Inclusion in the Arts
Author: Durrer, Victoria Catherine
ISNI:       0000 0004 2682 8201
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2008
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Britain's current Labour government has tied the arts to its broader agenda of promoting social inclusion (DCMS 1998; OCMS 2000). This thesis takes this policy shift as a starting point and critically interprets the nature of the collective and individual understandings of culture it makes evident. Informed by the work of Arnold (2003 [1867-69]) and Williams (1958), it considers how such apparently contradictory schools of thought are implied not only in Labour's cultural policy for inclusion, but also in its delivery within the arts, a field perceived to have its own inherent issues of exclusivity and inclusivity (Bourdieu and Oarbel 1991). Employing methodologies from art history and the social sciences, the thesis takes an interdisciplinary approach to contextualise the development and practice of the social inclusion agenda within the arts (Silver 1998; Hooper-Greenhill 2000a; Bevir and Rhodes 2003). In this way, the research aims to add two key areas of consideration to the debate on social inclusion and the arts: the community or the 'field' of the arts and the individual practices within that field (Bourdieu 2000). The thesis looks at case study projects in three art galleries in Liverpool: the Bluecoat, Tate Liverpool, and the Walker Art Gallery. By contextualising the historical developments of each organisation, the thesis examines how each gallery, its staff and its local public may be interpreting the policy of social inclusion in 'real' terms (Bevir and Rhodes 2(03). Through semi-structured interviews with both practitioners and participants involved in the interpretation and subsequent delivery of policy and through the participant observation of particular projects, this research examines the interpretation of social inclusion within practice. The provision of access to art galleries for individuals labeled 'socially excluded' is not necessarily deemed vital to practitioners or even all participants; rather it is provision of access for individuals who may not feel comfortable in an arts setting. The perception of art's exclusivity is seen to change via the different capacities in which both the arts organisations and the individuals working within them may allow perceived boundaries of exclusion to be negotiated. Opposed views on the value of culture are actually conjoined to promote forms of inclusion that are mediated and shaped by 'interpretive communities' (Hooper-Greenhill 2000a). By highlighting the negotiated nature of exclusion as a process of learning (Wenger 1998), this study aims to contribute to the construction of a more reflective practice in the arena of social inclusion and the arts.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available