It was a fascinating series of sessions which included some very interesting comments from the Institute for the Future of the Book’s Bob Stein. While I didn’t record or transcribe his comments at the festival, I was able to chat to him on Friday night, which was brief but very rewarding. I’m going to attempt a brief precis of some of the things he said, in the sessions I saw. Continue reading
From Philip Schlesinger, Professor of Cultural Policy at the University of Glasgow, comes a fine paper on think-tanks as cultural and policy institutions: “Creativity and the Experts: New Labour, Think Tanks, and the Policy Process.” It’s published in the January 2009 issue of The International Journal of Press/Politics, 14(3): 3-20.
This enviably well-written article looks at the phenomenon of UK think-tanks specifically from a creative industries perspective: an important topic, given the vast influence exerted by institutions like Demos and the Institute for Public Policy Research on the Blair and Brown governments.
Those who work in think tanks, as policy advisers or consultants, are a tiny and select segment of the university-educated intelligentsia. They operate within elite circles where the costs of entry to knowledgeable policy discussion are high. Their exclusivity — or as Pierre Bourdieu (1986) would put it, their “distinction” — is based in the claims to expertise made by the ‘thinktankerati.’