Control, Calculation and Collaboration in Cultural Policy Work at an Australian City Council

Emma Blomkamp


The challenges and contradictions of managing publicly subsidised, collaborative arts and cultural projects are considered in this article through a case study of cultural activation in an Australian city. Drawing on empirical research and literature from public administration and governmentality studies, the author critically analyses the practices of policy workers in relation to two arts programs designed to achieve broad socio-cultural outcomes. While demonstrating the potential for creativity, collaboration and innovation in contemporary urban governance, this case study also reflects the difficulty of articulating and assessing the impacts of cultural interventions. The complex interplay of practices involved in managing these programs is portrayed as a governance medley, requiring policy workers to employ a range of skills and different types of knowledge. This article examines the governance of city culture in a particular site, while also depicting the culture of local governance in this municipality.


cultural policy; governance; local government; policy work

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Asia Pacific Journal of Arts and Cultural Management; ISSN 1449-1184
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