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Richard Hylton
The Nature of the Beast

Authored book

University of Bath
ISBN: 0861971361

The Nature of the Beast: Cultural Diversity and the Visual Arts Sector, A Study of Policies, Initiatives and Attitudes 1976-2006
112 pages

The art world comes under scrutiny that challenges many widely held assumptions around cultural diversity and the case for institutional support of Black artists’ activity.

This Book charts cultural diversity’s various incarnations, from "ethnic arts" in the late 1970's, "black arts" in the 1980's, "new internationalism" in the 1990's and "culturally diverse arts" in the 21st century. It traces the struggles for power and representation and assesses the extent to which certain policies and initiatives might have assisted or hindered the progress of Black artists within the English gallery system.

The book raises wider questions about the political agenda behind New Labour’s promotion of an "inclusive society" and its effect on the Arts Council’s prioritization of cultural diversity in the arts.

The genesis of The Nature of the Beast came from an article written in response to the Arts Council England’s "flagship" project decibel: Raising the voice of culturally diverse arts in Britain, launched in May 2003. Through his research Hylton discovered that some of the problems associated with decibel re-enacted the flaws of failed arts initiatives going back to the 1970's. Recognising the need for a dispassionate assessment, Hylton’s book reveals a refreshingly sophisticated understanding of the term "cultural diversity". Through exploring a number of case studies, it became clear to him that rather than embracing integration and equality, the visual arts mainstream have promoted ideas of cultural difference and funding that produce racially separate organisations.

The book was launched at Conway Hall in March 2007, Geoff Cox (University of Plymouth) provided an appraisal of The Nature of the Beast and Richard Hylton was in conversation with writer and curator Eddie Chambers.

documentation on the ICIA website

Please also refer to hardcopy item for this output.

back to Richard Hylton home page

London Metropolitan University