Dangerous Ground

Dangerous ground: Reframing cultural value

This is a new collaborative project, and the latest development of The #culturalvalue Initiative.  The project will explore new approaches to defining cultural value and strive to bring to the fore artists’ perspectives on the emerging value debate whilst building relationship and nurturing collaborations between researchers and creative practitioners.

You can watch a short video of Eleonora Belfiore presenting the project here:

You can read a report on the Manchester event here.

Project’s context & aims:

Finding new ways of articulating the value of the arts and culture to both individuals and society has become the defining debate for everyone working with arts and culture including artists, arts and cultural organisations public and private funders and policy makers.

Faced by the exceptional challenge of the global financial crisis and impacts of environmental degradation and increasing social injustice, debates, broadcasts, research initiatives, public and professional gatherings as well as conferences on cultural value have flourished in the past few years and many artists, academics and activists across the world are already advancing fresh definitions of cultural value that move beyond outmoded social/economic, intrinsic/instrumental binaries.

However, these conversations, debates, explorations have largely been conducted in parallel by different professional constituencies who have not always been effective in sharing and building on each other’s insights and contributions.

A collaboration between Eleonora Belfiore, Centre for Cultural Policy Studies, University of Warwick), Clare Cooper and Shelagh Wright  of Mission, Models, Money and Susan Jones a-n-The Artists Information Company with partners Castlefield Gallery, Manchester, independent consultant Roanne Dods (Edinburgh), Manick Govinda of ArtsAdmin (London) and Lois Keidan, Live Art Development Agency (London), this project seeks to bridge some of these disconnects and create a platform for radical, provocative debate and action around the concept of cultural value.

The events:

The first stage of the project will begin with an experiment in debate and shared reflection centred on three events. These will both inform the community of work underway at Warwick University to develop a refreshed, interdisciplinary, international and collaborative research agenda on cultural value and involve artists and creative practitioner communities in the development process. Each event will have the dual role of recording and making sure the perspectives of artists and creative practitioners feed into current and future research on cultural value, and offer the opportunity to start the strategic thinking that the sector so desperately needs to ensure a healthy future environment for the arts and culture. It is also hoped the events might foster future collaboration between researchers and artists and creative practitioners on this area of shared interest.

Each event will start with a context setting presentation to frame key research questions and challenges, followed by a round table for participants to discuss, explore and get stuck into the heart of the cultural value issue in all its difficult, uncomfortable and politically sensitive aspects. Through a post-event questionnaire, participants will also be invited to contribute further perspectives, insights and suggestions, to extend the event and inform future activities within the ‘dangerous ground’ initiative.

The first of the three planned event took place on the 18th of February at the Castlefield Gallery in Manchester, under the co-ordination of Susan Jones of a-n The Artists Information Company. Attendance is by invitation only, but the event will be filmed and a rapporteur will create a written record of the discussion. We will make as much of this material as possible available here. So, please watch this space.


More info on the Manchester event, February 2013

More info on the London event, June 2013

More info on the Edinburgh event, June 2013




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