Bianchini highlights the tension between Labour's traditional top-down approach of extending access to the arts, and its more radical, sporadic attempts at 'cultural democracy', which attempt to engage with popular imagination and culture. In a key chapter on the Greater London Council's cultural policies from 1981 to 1986, Bianchini shows how they challenged the model of arts policy-making that had been dominant since the establishment of the Arts Council in 1946. Their effects resonated for a long while after Thatcher abolished the authority and are still relevant to contemporary debates. Chapters in the book include discussions of: Labour cinema and propaganda; the establishment of municipal theatres; the Thatcher government's arts policies and the responses to them by Labour Shadow Arts Ministers; GLC cultural policy as a political strategy and its policy making and arts organising; the experiences of Labour Shadow Arts Ministers until 1992; and the impact of arts policies in a range of UK cities.
Publisher: Lawrence and Wishart Ltd