Opinion: Which tribe are you?



Opinion: Which tribe are you?


Share To:

Back to news


As Grayson Perry has observed, “most people want to fit in with their tribe in some way or another, so they give off signals, whether it’s with their clothes, their behavior, their car, their whatever, and gain status . . . and the signals are an unconscious display of who you are and where you want to be.” But let’s be honest, at its fundamental level, a lot of our consumption of ‘culture’ in today’s society is about status as much as it is delight in creativity. We all participate in and consume culture and we hope that our accumulation of knowledge, behaviours and skills will demonstrate our cultural competence and so our standing in society. It’s subtle and causes great anxiety amongst the white middle classes.

You may have read that Felicity Huffman, a highly successful American actress pleaded guilty this week to taking part in a bribery scheme to get her daughter into a prestigious US university. Her efforts to increase her own status and her daughter’s social and cultural capital led her to break the law. Being smart, getting the grades, it isn’t enough when social and cultural capital is at stake.

This demonstrates the disturbing power, and inequality inherent in cultural capital. In Britain, the value placed on culture, as a society, is still heavily steeped in the white Western tradition. Though we celebrate our multi-cultural society, our value system is still playing catch-up. If it were a game, you’d score more points for going to see an exhibition or opera in London than you would an outdoor film screening in a park near your home. But what if you were in that film? What if the film celebrated your recognised talent as a kathak dancer, and your skills had been passed down through generations in your family?

Over the next two years, we will be exploring these questions in a dialogue between artists and residents of Queen’s Park, Bedford. At the Venice Biennale this year, the world’s most celebrated international art event, Ghana has burst onto the scene with its own national pavilion, designed by David Adjaye. Adjaye commented, “that Ghana’s cultural capital in the world is not being celebrated.” The same could be said for many of the different cultures within Britain.


Annie Bacon, Creative Producer

Image: Cat Lane 2018

Latest News

December 17, 2019

Opinion: The Twinning Project backs up key themes identified by Durham Commission  

In October the Durham Commission, a joint research collaboration between Durham University and Arts Council England, which examined the role creativity should play in the education of children and young people, released its findings. The Commission concluded that all schools, from early years to 16-plus education, should be better enabled to ‘support the promotion of creativity

November 29, 2019

Gigs 4 Kids Successfully Hits Target

Bedford Creative Arts is delighted to announce that the Gigs 4 Kids campaign has successfully exceeded its target by raising £16,999 thanks to support from generous backers. This includes Arts Council England (ACE) who donated £2,555, plus local businesses Bedford Heights, Bonfire Creative Intelligence, Future Legend Media, Narrative Industries, Woodhead Horns, both Cllr Valentine and

November 29, 2019

Teasing Out Contingencies Workshops Start

Next week sees the first of the Teasing Out Contingencies workshops; a free open studio project in the Southwark Room at Tate Exchange, Tate Modern, directed by artist Quilla Constance. Taking place on 3rd and 4th December, the workshops give individuals the opportunity to be a part of the active making of a series of

See More

Want to get involved? Contact Us