The creative economy is a key arena where austerity, localism and social policy debates are being played out. This paper explores how cultural intermediation has been captured by a broader state agenda on socio-economic exclusion, examining how these processes function at the local level in Birmingham, UK. Intersections of local cultural policy with grass-roots practice are explored in the neighbourhood of Balsall Heath, through two case studies: (1) Birmingham City Council’s Community Cultural Pilot and (2) Balsall Heath Biennale. We argue that despite savage cuts the local state is still having a considerable – and not always enabling – influence on processes and outcomes of non- state cultural intermediation, directing ways in which creative initiatives function at the local level. The paper ends on a hopeful note that these unstable times offer a moment where a renegotiation of the relationship between cultural intermediation, disadvantaged communities and the creative economy beyond monetised market-value is possible.
- localism, governance, urban policy, community, cultural policy