“Save our Library!”: Social Action, Austerity and The Big Society

The Mill is a community initiative that emerged from a campaign to save a local library closed without public consultation, in the London borough of Waltham Forest. After four years of campaigning and pushed by the local authority’s decision to sell the building, the community group shifted their focus to keeping it in public hands. A good dose of determination kept the group going, and the coincidental alignment of events and skilled people allowed them to take over the building to provide space and resources for local people to come together and organise interest groups, events and activities in a friendly environment. The events took place between 2007 and 2011, during the global financial crisis, the subsequent change of government in the UK and the country’s deficit reduction programme. Thus, The Mill is an extraordinary example that delineates the connection between the withdrawal of public funding for culture, and the emergence of private/collective initiatives that attempt to fill in cultural demands locally. These initiatives are led mostly by volunteers, and were briefly collectively called the “Big Society”. In this paper, I consider the relationship between community forms of management and austerity policies, exploring how such policies influence the emerging forms of community management.

“Save our Library!”

Ano 2017
Tipo Artigo electrónico
Publicação Parse Journal, Issue 5 (Spring 2017)
Páginas 61-73
Idioma English
Link Ver Link