The art of survival: community-based arts organisations in times of austerity

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This article examines the consequences of shifts in the terms of engagement with the state – since the onset of the global financial crisis in 2008 – for small-scale UK arts-based community organisations. Through an engagement with the accounts of key stakeholders from three case study organisations, the article considers the nature and extent of organisational changes in four main respects: the activities undertaken, the people and groups engaged, the income streams accessed and understandings of role or mission. Having outlined the variable fates of each organisation over this period, the article illuminates how the effects of austerity and associated policy shifts have served to mitigate against organisations’ ability to sustain arts-based work with disadvantaged groups, resist neoliberal ‘enterprise’ agendas or maintain a practical commitment to community development aims.


Original languageEnglish
JournalCommunity Development Journal
Early online date20 Aug 2018
StateE-pub ahead of print - 20 Aug 2018

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