I listened to a tribute on Pierre Bourdieu. On the BBC Thinking Allowed podcast. According to the podcast, one of his ideas was that the French system of egalitè to some extent does not work because working class people do not feel at ease with middle/upper class people, even though the working class people are as intelligent as the others. That ill at ease is a barrier which few can overcome, (though Bourdieu did).
Which reminded me of two meetings I had in the same week some time ago and how I felt ill at ease in one of them (in an art gallery) and totally at ease in another (in a technical design office).
Two art professionals (not artists) had finished organising the details of my exhibition and so passed onto a more interesting subject. They tested each other out about the living and relatively famous artists they knew and could count as friends. It was a gentle battle of name dropping. I remember feeling uncomfortable and wandering away to look at the art in the gallery. I left the two combatants to carry on testing each other.
Then a few days later I had a meeting with some engineers and technicians to discuss the sizing of a power supply for some custom test equipment. I actually had little to contribute, it was a bit out of my field, but I remember sitting there completely comfortable with the people and what they were discussing.
And I like meeting other (visual) artists too. The ones who actually do stuff with their own minds and hands. We exchange tips, experiences and jokes and there is no competition.