Justin O’Connor
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Creative industries
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The "creative industries", Chris Smith's initiative in 1997, gave art and culture a powerful new policy relevance, one that seemed to open the door to political influence and resources. This chapter outlines the policy context for Chris Smith's adoption of creative industries, a folding of art and popular culture into a dynamic new knowledge economy. The creative industries idea was itself a response to a neoliberal critique of public policy for culture which began in the 1970s. The chapter argues that it was an essential part of a new kind of "soft" neoliberalism developed by ex-social democratic parties in the 1990s. The idea was announced at the same moment New Labour abandoned any aspirations to industrial strategy, the tools for which had anyway long been discarded by the Conservatives. Many of the outlying areas barely record any employment, and some have no creative industries employment at all.

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Culture is not an industry

Reclaiming art and culture for the common good

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