This is the second of two blog posts examining recently published reports.  The first post focused on the civic role of arts organisations.  This post is a response to Towards cultural democracy: Promoting cultural capabilities for everyone and some of the other discussions that developed from its publication.

(Like last time, the blog title is inspired by a song. … READ MORE

Two new reports were recently released about how the arts and creativity might engage with society and communities in more meaningful ways.  The first was Rethinking Relationships – an enquiry into the civic role of arts organisations commissioned by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation; the second was Towards cultural democracy, commissioned by Kings College London. … READ MORE

I did a talk at Diffusion ‘Revolution’ Festival Symposium at Cardiff University today.  I’ve uploaded my presentation with notes here.  Click the link below to read it and remember to turn notes on in bottom right hand corner of presentation when it loads…  The talk is called Artwashing: From Mining Capital to Harvesting Social Capital.… READ MORE

I recently wrote a blog post about Artwashing London.  It looked at V22 and its connections to corporate interests and offshore company headquarters.  I will write another shortly and more about different cases I think could be classed as artwashing after that.

It is important that I explain my rationale. … READ MORE

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The Idea, Screenshot from John McKiernan's Prezi (from 2013 I think) - now removed by author The Idea, Screenshot from John McKiernan's Prezi (from 2013 I think) - now removed by author

The Idea, Screenshot from John McKiernan’s Prezi (from 2013 I think) – now removed by author

This is a reblog (with additions) of a post that was originally posted anonymously on LSE Sociology blog.  I must explain a few things.  I wasn’t comfortable being anonymous because, as a fellow activist said, anonymity is the greatest dispossession. … READ MORE

[youtube=://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txrILqlaUlE&w=640&h=480]

Heartland, The The, 1986

Beneath the old iron bridges, across the Victorian parks,
& all the frightened people running home before dark,
Past the Saturday morning cinema–
that lies crumbling to the ground,
& the piss stinking shopping centre in the new side of town.
I’ve come to smell the seasons change, & watch the city,
as the sun goes down again.… READ MORE

I recently walked around Robin Hood Gardens in the company of Rab Harling and Adam Greenfield as part of my ongoing research into gentrification and acts of resistance.  These are my reflections…

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Entrance to first block at Robin Hood Gardens. Entrance to first block at Robin Hood Gardens.

Entrance to first block at Robin Hood Gardens.

Robin Hood Gardens social housing at once derelict yet also very much alive. … READ MORE

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I’ve just shared my full paper from the Association of American Geographers Conference here but I thought some people might like to see the PowerPoint with notes or rather, I would recommend, the film with me presenting my paper.  (I presented it virtually, so this is exactly as the audience saw and heard it at the conference.)READ MORE

http://eil.com/images/main/The+The+Heartland+109120.jpg

Arts Council EnglandBeneath the old iron bridges, across the Victorian parks
And all the frightened people running home before dark
Past the Saturday morning cinema that lies crumbling to the ground
And the piss stinking shopping center in the new side of town
I’ve come to smell the seasons change and watch the city
As the sun goes down again

Here comes another winter of long shadows and high hopes
Here comes another winter waitin’ for utopia
Waitin’ for hell to freeze over

This is the land where nothing changes
The land of red buses and blue blooded babies
This is the place, where pensioners are raped
And the hearts are being cut from the welfare state
Let the poor drink the milk while the rich eat the honey
Let the bums count their blessings while they count the money

So many people can’t express what’s on their minds
Nobody knows them and nobody ever will
Until their backs are broken and their dreams are stolen
And they can’t get what they want then they’re gonna get angry

Well it ain’t written in the papers, but it’s written on the walls
The way this country is divided to fall
So the cranes are moving on the skyline
Trying to knock down this town

But the stains on the heartland, can never be removed
From this country that’s sick, sad, and confused

Here comes another winter of long shadows and high hopes
Here comes another winter waitin’ for utopia
Waitin’ for hell to freeze over

The ammunition’s being passed and the lords been praised
But the wars on the televisions will never be explained
All the bankers gettin’ sweaty beneath their white collars
As the pound in our pocket turns into a dollar

This is the 51st state of the U.S.A.… READ MORE

There have been many brilliant interventions at major UK arts institutions recently primarily focusing on fossil fuel funding.  Collectives like Art not Oil, Liberate Tate, Reclaim the Bard and many more have created (and will no doubt continue to create) a host of spectacularly Platform London powerful, often sublimely beautiful acts of resistance  against the involvement of fossil fuel corporations such as BP and Shell in and around some of the country’s biggest cultural institutions. … READ MORE