Leeds Beckett University
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The Role of Governance in the Building of Arenas for Popular Music in France and England 1980-2019

posted on 2023-04-18, 11:01 authored by Kathryn BrownKathryn Brown
The thesis investigates the evolution of arenas for popular culture since 1980 in Europe, and specifically in France and England. Using a qualitative research strategy and a thematic and comparative approach the research focuses on arena developing in France and England, using two case studies, the cities of Bordeaux and Leeds. The timeframe for the research is c1980s to 2019, a period which saw the emergence of the ‘dedicated’ indoor music arenas. The thesis explores the development of arenas through a governance perspective exploring, decision-making, cultural attitudes, and urban spaces for new consumerism. The research highlights the decision-making processes within different political and administrative systems, both nationally, and locally in Bordeaux and Leeds. It identifies similarities and contrasts in process. The research suggests that in both cases the actual decision-making was indecisive, with neither city having a defined vision for the development of arenas. The research findings suggest that the time scale for the development of the arenas was exacerbated by internal political conflicts in both cities – between the mayors in Bordeaux, whilst in Leeds, the external pressures of a neighbouring authority. The thesis also explores issues of arena ownership and the relationship between public and private investments in cultural infrastructure. The thesis similarly considers the impact of local cultural policy on decision-making related to the provision of local cultural infrastructure. The thesis is situated within a literature focused on the development of venues for popular music, and more specifically presents a comparative analysis of how these develop in specific places. The thesis highlights how, within contrasting political and administrative systems, decision-making related to major cultural infrastructure projects is often faced with similar challenges. The thesis extends the discussion and understanding of decision-making in a comparative context and adds to an understanding of the response to the accommodation of popular culture since the 1980s. In so doing it contributes to knowledge through its exploration and analysis of the governance and politics of cultural infrastructure provision.


Qualification name

  • PhD


Strange, Ian ; Edwards, Bronwen

Awarding Institution

Leeds Beckett University

Completion Date


Qualification level

  • Doctoral


  • eng


Leeds Beckett University

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