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Professor Oliver Bennett

Why I'm involved in the Warwick Commission:

Before starting an academic career, I worked for several years in arts management, where questions of cultural value were a professional preoccupation. Such questions have remained central to my academic work and, to a large extent, have informed both the teaching and research in the Centre for Cultural Policy Studies, which I set up at Warwick and directed for many years. I am co-author, with Eleonora Belfiore, of The Social Impact of the Arts: An Intellectual History (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008). I have also recently been a member of the London Cultural Policy Reference Group, a small group invited to advise the Mayor’s Office on research and policy for London’s cultural sector. I therefore have a longstanding professional interest in the aims of the Commission.


Professor Oliver Bennett established Warwick's Centre for Cultural Policy Studies in 1999, having previously established the M.A. in European Cultural Policy and Management in 1993. He directed both the Centre and the MA course until 2008.

He has published widely on cultural policy, intellectual history and cultural politics. He is the founding editor of the International Journal of Cultural Policy and a founder member of the Scientific Committee of the International Conference on Cultural Policy Research (ICCPR). In 2012, he was awarded a higher doctorate (DLitt) by Warwick for his contributions to cultural policy research.

Oliver’s current research focuses on the institutional promotion of hope, conceived as a form of ‘implicit’ cultural policy. He has a long-standing interest in questions of pessimism/optimism and is now working on a sequel to his book, Cultural Pessimism: Narratives of Decline in the Postmodern World (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2001). Provisionally entitled Cultures of Optimism: The Institutional Promotion of Hope, this will be published by Reaktion Books in 2014.

Staff page:

Email: o dot bennett:warwick dot ac dot uk

Oliver Bennett