GLC R.I.P Cultural policies in London, 1981-1986 (New Formations 1, Spring 1987)

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Publication date: May 18, 7600

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Franco Bianchini

The cultural arts and politics became more closely aligned under the Greater London Council, which used the arts as a medium for social messages. Over a number of years, large-scale festivals and new arts associations brought socialist arts initiatives to prominence in London. Attention was paid to engaging ethnic and other minority groups in political issues through the arts, although women’s groups did not receive as much attention. Critics on the Left felt that this did not go far enough, that the arts could be more than ‘merely responsive’ to the realities of politics. Gradually, the emphasis shifted away from models of subsidy towards seeing the arts as a creative enterprise industry which could benefit from market analysis and private funding. With the abolition of the GLC this view gained further currency.