Article Summary. Since the 1980s, the cultural industries have gained a key role in strategies to deal with urban problems, seen as able to provide a new economic base in post-industrial settings. Cases of flagship cultural institutions such as Tate Modern or the Guggenheim in Bilbao imply that a cultural turn in urban policy delivers urban revitalisation. Following the turn in Glasgow's fortunes after being European Capital of Culture in 1990, it is easy to understand how city authorities and developers alike are captivated by cultural projects. But there are questions: is advocacy for the creative industries to be trusted? To what extent can policies and strategies which are successful in one city be mapped onto others? And to what extent do cultural producers, such as artists, subscribe to the party line? An increasing number of voices of dissent in the arts suggest an alternative approach to urban regeneration. This paper questions the rhetoric of the cultural industries and investigates emerging alternative scenarios.