The Public Library as a Democratic Anchor within Wider Networks of Culture-led Regeneration?

Wilkin, Gary (2018) The Public Library as a Democratic Anchor within Wider Networks of Culture-led Regeneration? Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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In this thesis, I examine the role of culture-led urban regeneration within a traditionally staid public institution, the public library. The theoretical framework charts the terminology associated with culture and its incorporation within urban regeneration frameworks including theories and concepts such as commodification and aestheticization. Recognizing Williams (1961) classic thesis on the existence of three versions of culture, I chart recent theories which examine culture that is more democratic and participatory. Work by Sacco (2011) is of relevance here, particularly his models of culture. I subsequently chart the literature around community participation and then incorporate Lefebvre’s (1991) writings on space to serve as a theoretical frame for the subsequent research.

I empirically investigate the role that culture has played within the redevelopment of the City Library in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England through a case study analysis and involved a triangulation of methods to allow for a theoretically rich analysis. Firstly, a documentary analysis of public library documentation is carried out consisting of national, local and City Library documents, to contextualise the library within the institutional networks in which it operates. Secondly, interviews with library officials was undertaken to determine how activities and programmes offered, allowed spaces for democratic opportunity. I further expand this by geographically mapping all partners with whom the library works offering these activities. Finally, I conduct a rhythmanalysis of the public library to determine the geographical relationships and networks of the City Library within the city.

I conclude by expanding on the implication of this for public libraries more generally as a cultural institution. I discuss the implications of the library as an anchor institution for city development. I also contrast existing literature by arguing that culture-led regeneration within public libraries can be diverse and transformative for users offering emancipation within a complex and fragmented urban space.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: N100 Business studies
Department: University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Faculties > Business and Law > Newcastle Business School
Depositing User: Ellen Cole
Date Deposited: 18 Feb 2019 15:32
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2022 13:45

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