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The Outside Interests of the UK Cultural Agencies


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Title: The Outside Interests of the UK Cultural Agencies

The Outside Interests of the UK Cultural Agencies
  • Dave Griffiths
  • University Of Manchester/CRESC

Quangos(Quasi-autonomous non-governmental
  • the large range of bodies of appointed,
    non-elected, non-civil service people running
    things, overseeing things, or advising about
    things, and usually controlling or spending
    public money
  • (Marr 1995)

Quango Literature
  • Skelcher and Davis (1995) demographical study
    into local board members
  • Robinson and Shaws (1999) demographial study
    into North East local board members
  • Both found that white middle-aged, middle-class
    men were The norm
  • Both found evidence of a self-appointing local

Types of capital
  • Social Capital associations and networks with
    individuals and institutions
  • Cultural Capital knowledge of cultural
    practices and norms
  • Economic Capital ownership of cash, property or
    other economical position
  • Symbolic Capital reputation, skills and
    expertise respected by others

Elite studies
  • Useems 1970s research into the corporate worlds
    Inner Circle
  • Scotts 1980s and 1990s research into the
    capitalist classes
  • Both found business elite use symbolic capital to
    underpin their economic capital
  • Both found cultural capital underpinned access to
    this elite

Quango Elites Literature
  • Both believe that a closed centre exists
  • Both believe that social capital is used to
    access this centre
  • Elite literature suggests cultural and symbolic
    capital allows access
  • Quango literature suggests social and economic
    capital allows access

  • Department of Media, Culture and Sport (DCMS)
    executive quangos
  • 45 agencies employing 15,000 individuals and
    spending 1.2 billion a year (2005/06)
  • Address all forms of UK culture from museums and
    galleries, regional cultural agencies, public
    access to literature and music, sports, films,
    architecture and heritage even drinking and

Museums (London based) British Library British Museum Geffrye Museum Horniman Museum Imperial War Museum Museum of London National Gallery London National Maritime Museum National Museum of Science and Industry National Portrait Gallery Natural History Museum Royal Armouries Sir John Soanes Museum Tate Victoria and Albert Museum Wallace Collection
National bodies Alcohol Education and Research Council Arts Council England Big Lottery Fund Churches Conservation Trust Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment English Heritage Football Licensing Authority Gambling Commission Heritage Lottery Fund Horseracing Betting Levy Board Museums, Libraries and Archives Commission National Endowment of Science, Technology and the Arts National Lottery Commission Olympic Lottery Distributor Public Lending Right Sport England UK Film Council UK Sport VisitBritain
Regional bodies Culture East Midlands Culture North East Culture North West Culture South East Culture South West Culture West Midlands Living East Museum of Science and Industry Manchester National Museums Liverpool Yorkshire Culture
  • 767 individuals
  • 63 male, average age 58
  • Over 11,000 pieces of information
  • Collected from April 2006 to January 2007
  • Press releases, websites, annual reports,
    registers of members interests, Whos Who,
    Debretts People of Today

Biographical directories 42
University educated 40
Charity trustees 37
Quango advisor 36
Affiliation body membership 32
Private member clubs 30
Educational boards 23
Official honours 23
Corporate directorships 20
Other quango directorships 18
Professional body positions 16
Honorary degrees 12
Corporate advisors 4
Editorial boards 4
Shareholders 4
Visiting professorships 4
Known political allegiance 3
DCMS network
DCMS network
Key Findings
  • Distinction between regional-based and
    London-based institutions
  • Distinction between types of London-based
  • London-based museums occupy similar social and
    cultural spaces

Charities network
Private Member clubs
Quango directorships
Organisational differences
  • National organisations bridge cultural capital
    through its social capital
  • Regional organisations bridge cultural capital
    through its social capital
  • London museums utilise cultural and symbolic
    capital for its social capital

London-regional distinctions
  • Museums more likely to be linked to charities
    outside the UK than charities working in the UK
    outside of London
  • Museums more likely to be linked to international
    organisations than regional or local bodies
    outside of London
  • Of the 767 board members, only 1 has links to
    Wales and only 1 to Northern Ireland

Economic capital
  • Economic positions show sparse networks with few
    interlocks, if any
  • Only Employment network shows signs of influence
  • Only 1 in 3 work for a profit-making organisation
  • 1 in 6 work in academia
  • Cultural capital more important than economic
    capital, even in employment network

University Employers
London 14 AERC, English Heritage (2), Heritage Lottery Fund, Imperial War Museum, National Gallery London, National Gallery London. National Museum of Science and Industry, National Portrait Gallery (2), Natural History Museum (3), Tate, Victoria and Albert Museum
Cambridge 9 British Museum (2), Living East, National Maritime Museum (2), National Museum of Science and Industry (3)
Oxford 4 British Museum, English Heritage, National Maritime Museum, Natural History Museum
City 3 Museums, Archives and Libraries Commission, NESTA, National Portrait Gallery
Manchester 3 Commission on the Built Environment, Heritage Lottery Fund, Museum of Science and Industry Manchester
Newcastle 3 Arts Council England, Culture North East (2)
Oxford Brookes 3 AERC, National Gallery London, Tate
De Montfort 2 Culture East Midlands (2)
Leicester 2 British Library, National Gallery London
Royal College of Art 2 Arts Council England, Victoria and Albert Museum
University attended
66 University of London
61 Oxford University
54 Cambridge University
13 University of Manchester
11 University of Bristol, University of Liverpool
9 University of Birmingham, University of Leeds
8 University of Leicester, University of Warwick
7 Harvard University (USA), Newcastle University, University of Sheffield
6 University of Edinburgh, University of Essex
5 BRNC Dartmouth, City University, Open University, University of Hull, University of Reading, University of York
4 Durham University, University of Glasgow
Prestige universities attended
London-based museums National bodies Regional bodies
University of London 13.8 16.3 7.0
Cambridge University 10.5 13.4 5.3
Oxford University 14.0 8.1 7.0
USA 8.9 7.6 5.3
Total 46.1 45.3 24.6
School attended
Schools popularly attended
Total London museums National boards Regional boards
Eton 8 4 3 1
Haberdahsers Aske School - Hampstead 5 4 1 0
St Pauls Girl School 5 4 1 0
Cheltenham Ladies College 4 2 1 1
Rugby 4 3 1 0
Dulwich College 3 2 1 0
Shrewsbury School 3 3 0 0
Wellington College 3 3 0 0
Cultural capital
  • Cultural capital important to London-based
    organisations, not regional organisations
  • However, symbolic capital underpins the forms of
    cultural capital which are influential

Symbolic capital
  • Social capital Symbolic capital influences
    social capital of museums
  • Cultural capital Symbolic capital influences
    cultural capital of museums
  • Financial capital Symbolic capital influences
    other effect of financial capital for museums
  • Symbolic capital has no real influence over
    institutions outside of London

  • Economic capital holds no impact over DCMS
    executive quangos
  • Social capital important to regional bodies
  • Cultural and symbolic capital important to
    London-based instituions
  • Therefore, regional bodies acting like quango
  • London-based organisations acting like corporate

  • Despite lack of influence of financial capital,
    elite construction mirrors that of financial
  • Evidence that competing elites exists in
    different spheres, which suggests why quango
    literature is contridactory
  • Evidence that boards are self-appointing, with
    organisational structure appearing to outweigh
    departmental procedures