The Fourth Pillar was published in early 2001. In it, Jon Hawkes proposed a way of bringing community discourse on shared values into the regular processes of public policy making.

He argued that a cultural (the social production of meaning) perspective would facilitate this activity.

‘Fourth Pillar thinking’ has been embraced, in varying degrees, in Canada, New Zealand and in some parts of the European community.
Nevertheless, the value of a cultural perspective still appears largely unappreciated, not least because of continuing confusion between ‘culture’ and ‘the arts’.

Since I wrote the Fourth Pillar, I’ve been attempting to produce material that clarifies what I believe are useful distinctions in the ways we envisage how we make meaning, and to extend the debate on matters creative, artistic and cultural.

This site, generously built by the Cultural Development Network, is designed to give you and me the opportunity to develop more articulate expressions of the ways that cultural action can support the development of societies whose members are engaged and empowered.

Has a consciousness of how social meaning is constructed through public planning processes developed among those who do it?

Has the essential contribution of regular, participatory and collaborative community-based creative activities to the well-being and sustainability of society been recognised by our representatives?

Join the debate on these and many other essential issues by wandering through this site, or check out some of the stuff I’ve been producing since the original book(let).

(Site photo: Dunmoochin Foundation Artists Residency, Cottles Bridge, Victoria, Australia. By Andrew Garton, licensed under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license.)