The people versus

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Citation for The people versus
Title The people versus
Published in Engage Journal Revisited
Published by Engage, The National Association for Gallery Education
Publication date November 2018

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Daryl Wells in response to Marl O’Neill: ‘The people versus’ in Engage 11: Inclusion under Pressure (Winter 2001)

This article deconstructs some of the problematic assumptions found in a 2001 booklet on museums and social inclusion (2001).

Author Mark O’Neill is deeply critical of the writers’ argument, which suspected New Labour motives were behind the pursuit of social inclusion in the museum sector as motivated by New Labour’s political motives. While disparaging the writers’ patronising ‘intellectual social worker’ stance, O’Neill raises a number of salient points about the need for rigorous debate in order for museums to define their purpose within society. To a young artist-educator just beginning to work in the sector, this article was an invigorating and thought-provoking window into the ideological issues with which cultural workers must grapple.


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