Dave O’Brien

The notion of ‘public value’ has an important role to play in making a case for the BBC, however its practical implications need to be articulated in greater detail

Dave O’Brien reflects on the controversies which have afflicted the BBC in recent months and their implications for its role and status within public life. The BBC Trust had already sought to address its critics through the articulation of the public value framework. However important questions have been raised about the practical role of ‘public value’ and these could be productively […]

Derry’s year as UK City of Culture holds great promise but its success should not be measured in narrow economic ways

The programme for UK City of Culture (UKCoC) in Derry was launched at the end of October with the usual narrative of culturally led urban renewal. Dave O’Brien argues that while it is unlikely that Derry will replicate the economic success of previous UKCoC’s, it is possible that other less easily quantifiable gains will be accrued by the city. The end […]

The technical language of economics has become more prevalent in justifying political decision-making

Dave O’Brien argues that the technocratic process of economic decision-making is increasingly being used to give legitimacy to policy decisions. However, the use of particular measurement systems reflects ideological positions, social conditions and bureaucratic histories.  One of the first decisions taken by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) under the coalition in June 2010 was to end funding for […]

Book Review: Parliamentary Socialisation: Learning the Ropes or Determining Behaviour? by Michael Rush and Philip Giddings

How and from whom do MPs learn about their role in the Commons? In Parliamentary Socialisation, Michael Rush and Philip Giddings consider the range of sources that provide socialisation for MPs as they enter the House of Commons. Dave O’Brien finds limitations in the book’s theoretical analysis, but gives much credit to the authors for providing a readable and engaging account of how […]

Book Review: Working for Policy

Dave O’Brien opens up the black box of policy making in this diverse collection of essays for the academic eye. The essays paint a picture of policy emerging from politicians, bureaucrats, professional experts, advocacy and interest groups, as well as academics, media and citizens, in situations where policy is never a linear process with clear beginnings, middles and ends. Working for Policy. […]

Book Review: The Public Value of the Humanities

Dave O’Brien finds Jonathan Bate’s recent thought-provoking collection to be essential reading for public, policy-maker, practitioner and academic alike.   The Public Value of the Humanities. Jonathan Bate. Bloomsbury Academic. January 2011. Find this book at:  Debates around the future of the arts and humanities are currently the essential talking point both within academia and in wider media discussions. From […]

Book Review: Good and Plenty: The Creative Success of American Arts Funding

The Arts Council this week announced which arts organisations it would be awarding funding to for the next three years. Under the biggest change to arts funding in a generation, 110 new organisations received funding but 206 lost out completely. Dr Dave O’Brien asks what we can learn from America, reviewing a recent book which details the ways in which the arts […]

The arts and cultural sector faces ‘apocalyptic’ cuts in austere Britain. But new ways of looking at economic value can help to make the case for culture

In the government’s programme of cuts it has become clear that the arts may well be hit the hardest. While historically it has been hard to pin down an ‘economic value’ on art, Dave O’Brien argues that the sector should  learn from the green movement in applying an economic valuation based-approach, which may help the sector to make a better […]