The art of the good life: culture and sustainable prosperity

Oakley, K. and Ward, J. (2018) The art of the good life: culture and sustainable prosperity. Cultural Trends, 27(1), pp. 4-17. (doi: 10.1080/09548963.2018.1415408)

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The creative economy has seen cultural policy swallowed up by a narrow vision of economic growth, its impacts on the urban fabric captured by property developers, and its promises of meaningful activity challenged by the exploitation and inequities of cultural labour markets. So it needs to be abandoned and re-thought, but on what basis? This paper analyses the potential for cultural work to encourage alternative visions of the “good life”, in particular, how it might encourage a kind of “sustainable prosperity” wherein human flourishing is not linked to high levels of material consumption but rather the capabilities to engage with cultural and creative practices and communities. We critically explore these ideas in three locations: a London borough, a deindustrialised city in England’s midlands and a rural town on the Welsh/English border. Across these diverse landscapes and socio-economic contexts, we look at different versions of the good life and at the possibilities and constraints of cultural activity as a way of achieving kinds of sustainable prosperity.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This work was supported by the ESRC [grant number ES/M010163/1].
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Oakley, Professor Kate
Authors: Oakley, K., and Ward, J.
College/School:College of Arts & Humanities > School of Culture and Creative Arts
Journal Name:Cultural Trends
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN (Online):1469-3690
Published Online:19 January 2018
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
First Published:First published in Cultural Trends 27(1):4-17
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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