THE MANCHESTER MODEL – Justin O’Connor and Isaac Rose in conversation

  • DATE

    7 March 2024

  • TIME

    6:30 pm to 8:00 pm

  • AGES

    All ages welcome




    Blackwell's Bookshop Manchester
    University Green, 146 Oxford Rd, Manchester, M13 9GP

Blackwell’s Manchester are delighted to be welcoming Justin O’Connor and Isaac Rose to the shop to discuss CULTURE IS NOT AN INDUSTRY and THE RENTIER CITY – two books which critically examine the creative industries and the Manchester regeneration machine. Justin and Isaac will be in conversation with Abigail Gilmore (Senior Lecturer in Arts Management & Cultural Policy at the University of Manchester).

Doors: 6.30, starts: 6.45

Tickets are free, but do please register your interest in advance. Both books will be available to purchase on the night of the event and Justin and Isaac will be happy to sign copies after the talk.

About the books:

Culture is Not an Industry: Reclaiming Art and Culture for the Common Good – Justin O’Connor

Culture is at the heart to what it means to be human. But twenty-five years ago, the British government rebranded art and culture as ‘creative industries’, valued for their economic contribution, and set out to launch the UK as the creative workshop of a globalised world.

Where does that leave art and culture now? Facing exhausted workers and a lack of funding and vision, culture finds itself in the grip of accountancy firms, creativity gurus and Ted Talkers. At a time of sweeping geo-political turmoil, culture has been de-politicised, its radical energies reduced to factors of industrial production. This book is about what happens when an essential part of our democratic citizenship, fundamental to our human rights, is reduced to an industry.

Culture is not an industry argues that art and culture need to renew their social contract and re-align with the radical agenda for a more equitable future. Bold and uncompromising, the book offers a powerful vision for change.

The Rentier City – Isaac Rose

How did Manchester became the poster-child of neoliberal urbanisation, and what can the people that live there do about it?

As the crane capital of Europe, Manchester’s transformation since the financial crisis has been profound. Capital has flooded into the city, transforming its skyline and rocketing rents. At the same time, it remains a city of stark inequalities – home to some of the poorest wards in the country. Yet this didn’t come out of nowhere. Rather, its roots lie in the long story of the city’s political journey since the 1980s, and the defeat of municipal socialism and the embrace of urban entrepreneurialism which saw Manchester become the model neoliberal city.

In The Rentier City, tenant organiser Isaac Rose traces the contemporary history of Manchester, examining how and why it became the poster-child for neoliberal development. Exploring the cultural commodification that Manchester pioneered in its pursuit of the “creative class” and the rise of the rentier, Rose lays bare the results of this experiment. Tracking the triumphs and failures of those who have sought to fight back, he shows us what life is like for those who make a home in the shadow of the towers.

Bursting the bubble of the boosters and giving renters a toolkit for reclaiming their homes, communities and cities from Big Capital, The Rentier City punctures the hypocrisies that surround the “Manchester miracle”, showing how everyone can fight back against rising rents, gentrification and the financialisaton of the places they live.