Based on interviews with arts administrators responsible for addressing targeted groups labelled ‘socially excluded.’, this paper highlights new understandings of the term ‘cultural intermediary’ (Featherstone 1991; Bourdieu 2000) within art galleries and art centres. It considers the unique role of such figures in crossing the exclusion/inclusion boundary within the arts and developing more personal approaches to marketing activities in their institutions through relationship-building. While it is acknowledged here that such workers find themselves in a privileged position in being able to shape questions of taste and particular consumerist dispositions to understanding the art world, little, if not no effort has been made to understand this process. As such, there remains a void between the cultural policy-oriented conception of social inclusion, which implies a version of repairing the ‘flawed consumer’ (Bauman 2005), and the way in which such policy is played out on the ground.
- cultural intermediary, social inclusion, consumption, art gallery