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Rules for Cultural Radicals

Lookup NU author(s): John Vail, Emeritus Professor Robert Hollands


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This article explores the various forms of “social skill”, what we call “rules for cultural radicals”, that the Amber Film and Photography Collective (and primarily its founder and leading visionary, Murray Martin) used to create and sustain an egalitarian arts organization and oppositional cultural movement in the Northeast of England. The collective represented a radical challenge to the world of British filmmaking, featuring innovative practices of cultural work, non-commodified forms of cultural economy and a commitment to a democratic culture. These “rules” constituted innovative forms of strategic action—visionary leadership, improvisation, risk taking, brokerage—that helped create a durable collective identity and networks of solidarity. We explore the extent to which Amber's “rules” are prefigurative of contemporary forms of cultural activism and radical artistic practice.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Vail J, Hollands R

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Antipode

Year: 2013

Volume: 45

Issue: 3

Pages: 541-564

Print publication date: 07/11/2012

ISSN (print): 0066-4812

ISSN (electronic): 1467-8330

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8330.2012.01055.x


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