Presumption, policy and practice

Andrew Newman, Fiona McLean

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


This article aims to analyse the basis for the construction of current policy designed to use museums and galleries as agents of social inclusion in Great Britain. It does this by first analysing their social role and their historical contribution to social policy. The article then goes on to present the findings of a research project that compared the rhetoric surrounding this issue with practice. It concludes that a series of issues are preventing the successful construction and implementation of policy. These are: a lack of policy coherence across different parts of the British Government; an inability to successfully measure social impact; a lack of institutional clarity about how to respond to policy guidance; and a lack of understanding about what constitutes social exclusion. The final and most significant difficulty is the lack of clarity about what can be expected from museums and galleries in this respect. The underlying question of how they function in society remains largely unanswered and means that policy is not based upon firm foundations.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Cultural Policy
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2004


  • social exclusion
  • heritage
  • social policy
  • museums and galleries


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