Controlling UK national museums and galleries: the pursuit of conflicting politico-economic and socio-cultural objectives

Aminah Abdullah, Iqbal Khadaroo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

UK national museums and galleries (MaGs) are organised as non-departmental public bodies to enable them to pursue their desired socio-cultural objectives with minimal interference from the government. This study examines how the UK government controls heterogenous UK national MaGs to insidiously influence their objectives. It uses data collected from published sources and from interviews conducted with sponsors, trustees and senior managers of national MaGs located in London. The findings highlight that the government influences the domain of arts and culture by appointing trustees with similar ‘political’ and ‘business-thinking’ mindsets, using accounting mechanisms, and through direct intervention. When the government's politico-economic desires collided with the decision of the trustees and curators, the government directly intervened to protect its interest. The reduction in government funding and its desire to make MaGs financially independent have resulted in MaGs demanding greater autonomy over spending their self-generated funding to pursue their artistic objectives, potentially shifting accountability relationships and creating new possibilities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-220
Number of pages20
JournalAccounting and Business Research
Volume52
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • UK museums and galleries
  • control
  • government

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Accounting

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