This article makes three specific and interrelated arguments. First, it argues that the power of Stuart Hall's pedagogy can be understood as having established a “third space” between political activism and academic research, a space that in the 1970s and early 1980s permitted the development of British cultural studies as an anti-elitist, theoretically informed approach to the field of culture, in particular popular culture. Second, I propose that as this space also opened itself up, starting in the late 1980s, to emerging young black and Asian British artists, and as it extended itself so as to engage with the work of key postcolonial theorists, a body of films and artworks appeared that expanded this space, maintaining the integrity of a practice that refuted the distinctions between high and low culture, in terms of aesthetics, and rhetorical address, and audiences. Third, I argue that the advent of neo liberal political culture in the United Kingdom cuts short the conditions of emergence, which had supported this group of artists, with all that this augurs for future generations of black and Asian artists today.

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