Caring for Cultural Freedom: An Ecological Approach to Supporting Young People's Cultural Learning

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This report examines young people’s cultural learning within the London Borough of Harrow. It makes a significant contribution to recent debates concerning the value of understanding the cultural sector ecologically. It provides new ways to interpret how cultural opportunities operate for young people within cultural ecosystems: complex networks operating within and across a range of scales, including home, school, the borough, the region, and the nation. It thereby raises fundamental questions for policy and practice regarding how young people’s cultural learning can best be supported on an ongoing basis.

Drawing on extensive empirical findings - analysed in relationship to recent conceptual innovations regarding both the ecology of culture and the politics of care - the report’s overarching proposal is the need to develop ‘caring’ approaches to supporting cultural learning ecologically. Following Joan Tronto’s account of the four characteristics of care, this means developing practices of managing cultural ecosystems that are not only ecologically competent (effective in cultivating and sustaining vibrant interconnections), but which are - through the approaches they develop to partnership working and creative citizenship - attentive and responsive to the views and needs of young people, and responsible for the health of the ecosystem as a whole.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherA New Direction
Commissioning bodyA New Direction
Number of pages96
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2017


  • CARE
  • cultural learning
  • cultural capability
  • Young people


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