It would be hard to overstate the importance of culture. It teaches us, heals us, rips us apart and puts us back together in new and surprising ways. Given its fundamental importance to the human experience, it would make sense that looking at the sort of people who produce it for us, thinking about who they are, what their experiences are, and what that may say about the cultural products they then make. There is no product without a producer, and cultural products are no different, so understanding cultural products means thinking more critically about who produces them.
This is the goal of the recently published Culture is Bad for You: Inequality in the Cultural and Creative Industries
(Manchester University Press, 2020). Written by Orian Brook, Mark Taylor and, my guest today, Dave O’Brien, the book combines quantitative data analysis with personal interviews to weave together the complicated picture of who the people behind some of our most cherished experiences are.
Dave O’Brien is Chancellor’s Fellow in Cultural and Creative Industries, based in the School of History of Art at Edinburgh University. He is also the author of Cultural Policy: Management, Value and Modernity in the Creative Industries (Routledge).