British Politics

, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 297–317

The national trust for talent? NESTA and New Labour’s cultural policy

  • Kate Oakley
  • David Hesmondhalgh
  • David Lee
  • Melissa Nisbett
Original Article

Abstract

Although the New Labour period witnessed a high degree of institutional formation in the United Kingdom, many of its initiatives, from regional development agencies to the Film Council, have not survived. One exception is the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA). Using interviews and unpublished documentation, this article traces the pre-history of NESTA, its origins as an idea in the last years of the Major administration, the policy networks that helped develop it and its realisation under New Labour. The argument is that by examining the trajectory of NESTA, we can see many of the themes of New Labour’s cultural policy, particularly what came to be thought of as its ‘creative economy’ policy, under which an early enthusiasm for supporting small cultural businesses was replaced by the discourse of creativity and innovation, progressively emptying the policy of its concerns with culture in favour of a focus on economic growth.

Keywords

NESTA policy networks New Labour cultural policy innovation National Lottery 

References

  1. Avnimelech, G. (2009) VC policy: Yozma program 15-years perspective. Paper presented at the Druid Summer Conference; Copenhagan, http://www2.druid.dk/conferences/viewpaper.php?id=5606&cf=32, accessed 8 March 2013.
  2. Banks, M., Lovatt, A., O’Connor, J. and Raffo, C. (2000) Risk and trust in the cultural industries. Geoforum 31 (4): 453–464.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bevir, M. (2011) The Making of British Socialism. New Jersey: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Blair, T. (1997) Statement by Rt Tony Blair MP on the people’s money. London Bridge Studios, 23 April.Google Scholar
  5. Blair, H. (2001) ‘You’re only as good as your last job’: The labour process and labour market in the British film industry. Work Employment & Society 15 (1): 149–169.Google Scholar
  6. Coonan, R. (1995a) The National Endowment for Science, Humanities and the Arts.Google Scholar
  7. Coonan, R. (1995b) The National Endowment for Science, Education and the Arts.Google Scholar
  8. Coonan, R. (1995c) A National Endowment for Science and the Arts.Google Scholar
  9. Coonan, R. (1996a) The National Endowment. Science, Humanities and the Arts.Google Scholar
  10. Coonan, R. (1996b) Letter to Lord Chadlington, 29 November 1996.Google Scholar
  11. Cowan, T. (2011) The Great Stagnation: How America Ate All the Low-Hanging Fruit of Modern History, Got Sick, and Will(Eventually) Feel Better. Boston: Dutton.Google Scholar
  12. Cunningham, S. (2013) Hidden Innovation: Policy, Industry and the Creative Sector. Brisbane, Australia: University of Queensland Press.Google Scholar
  13. Dallyn, S. (2011) Innovation and financialisation: Unpicking a close association. Ephemera 11 (3): 289–307.Google Scholar
  14. Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). (1998) Creative Industries Mapping Document. London: DCMS.Google Scholar
  15. Duke, K. (2002) Getting beyond the official line: Reflections on dilemmas of access, knowledge and power in researching policy networks. Journal of Social Policy 31 (1): 39–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Fawcett, P. and Daugbjerg, C. (2012) Explaining governance outcomes: Epistemology, network governance and policy network analysis. Political Studies Review 10 (2): 195–207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Finlayson, A. (2003) Making Sense of New Labour. London: Lawrence & Wishart.Google Scholar
  18. Freedman, D. (2008) The Politics of Media Policy. Bristol, UK: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  19. Garnham, N. (2005) From cultural to creative industries. International Journal of Cultural Policy 11 (1): 15–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hay, C. (1999) The Political Economy of New Labour. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Hewison, R. (2011) ‘Creative Britain’: Myth or monument? Cultural Trends 20 (3–4): 235–242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hewison, R. (2014) Cultural Capital: The Rise and Fall of Creative Britain. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  23. Hesmondhalgh, D. (2005) Media and public policy as cultural policy: The case of the British Labour government. International Journal of Cultural Policy 11 (1): 95–108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hesmondhalgh, D. (2012) The Cultural Industries, 3rd edn. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  25. Hitchen, G. (1997) The Planning Environment. A Discussion Paper for the strategy group by the Corporate Policy Director, London: Arts Council (unpublished).Google Scholar
  26. House of Commons, Science and Technology Committee. (2002) National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts: A Follow up. London: The Stationary Office. Sixth Report of Session 2001–2002.Google Scholar
  27. Labour Party. (1997) New Labour Because Britain Deserves Better. London: Labour Party.Google Scholar
  28. Marsh, D. (2011) The new orthodoxy: The differentiated polity model. Public Administration 89 (1): 32–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Marsh, D. and Rhodes, R.A.W. (1992) Policy Networks in British Government. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Maxwell, R. and Miller, T. (2012) Greening the Media. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  31. McGuigan, J. (2005) Neo-liberalism, culture and policy. International Journal of Cultural Policy 11 (3): 229–241.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Mulgan, G. and Worpole, K. (1986) Saturday Night or Sunday Morning?: From Arts to Industry, New Forms of Cultural Policy. London: Comedia.Google Scholar
  33. Murray, R. (1988) Life after (Henry) Ford. Marxism Today 32 (10): 8–13.Google Scholar
  34. National Lottery Act. (1998) Labour Party.Google Scholar
  35. NESTA Working Group. (1997) From Pledge to Policy: A Way Forward for the Labour Government. London: NESTA.Google Scholar
  36. NESTA. (2012) A Brief History of NESTA. London: NESTA.Google Scholar
  37. NESTA. (2013) About Us, http://www.Nesta.org.uk/about_us, accessed 7 January 2013.
  38. O’Connor, J. (2009) Creative industries: A new direction? International Journal of Cultural Policy 15 (4): 387–402.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Oakley, K. (2004) Not so cool Britannia, the role of creative industries in economic development. International Journal of Cultural Studies 7 (1): 67–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Oakley, K. (2009a) The disappearing arts: Creativity and innovation after the creative industries. International Journal of Cultural Policy 15 (4): 403–413.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Oakley, K. (2009b) From Bohemia to Britart – Art students over 50 years. Cultural Trends 18 (4): 281–294.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Oakley, K. (2012) Not the new, new thing: Innovation and cultural policy in the EU. In: I. Elam (ed.) Artists and the Arts Industries. Stockholm, Sweden: Konstnarsnamnden: The Swedish Arts Grants Committee.Google Scholar
  43. Oakley, K. (2014) Rethinking cultural entrepreneurship. In: C. Bilton and S. Cummings (eds.) The Handbook of Management and Creativity. London: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  44. Rhodes, R. (2007) Understanding governance: Ten years on. Organization Studies 28 (8): 1243–1264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Schlesinger, P. (2009) Creativity and the experts: New Labour, think tanks and the policy process. The International Journal of Press/Politics 14 (3): 3–10.Google Scholar
  46. Selwood, S. and Davies, M. (2005) Capital costs: Lottery funding in Britain and the consequences for museums. Curator: The Museum Journal 48 (4): 439–465.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Shaw, E. (2012) New Labour’s Faustian pact? British Politics 7 (3): 224–249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Thompson, N. (2002) Left in the Wilderness: The Political Economy of British Democratic Socialism since 1979. Chesham, UK: Acumen.Google Scholar
  49. Turner, A. (2009) The Turner review. A Regulatory Response to the Global Banking Crisis. London: Financial Services Authority.Google Scholar
  50. Wells, P. (2011) Prescriptions for regional economic dilemmas: Understanding the role of think tanks in the governance of regional policy. Public Administration 90 (1): 211–229.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Williams, R. (1981) Culture. London: Fontana.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kate Oakley
    • 1
  • David Hesmondhalgh
    • 1
  • David Lee
    • 1
  • Melissa Nisbett
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Communications Studies, University of LeedsUK
  2. 2.Culture, Media and Creative Industries, King’s College LondonLondonUK

Personalised recommendations