Value of Arts

Today's world is obsessed with measuring the impact of every field of public (subsidised) activity. Does your project entail spending public money? Then be prepared to justify its value with numbers and facts.

While numerous studies reveal the power of culture in driving economic growth and creating jobs, it is difficult to quantify the intangible impacts of arts.

 

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In the third issue of Polish Theatre Journal, we examine institutional practices in Polish theatre in the context of political and social changes. We analyse conditions for freedom of artistic expression and of mechanisms of censorship; we observe significant conflicts and struggles in theatre life, and scrutinize the entanglement of economic, political and aesthetic determinants.
Julian Meyrick, the Strategic Professor of Creative Arts at Flinders University, argues that our addiction to measuring things has replaced evaluating things – including creativity. So how do you measure cultural activities whose purpose, meaning and hope are ends in themselves?
The last few years have seen a dramatic growth of interest in international cultural relations (ICR) and cultural diplomacy (CD) at the EU level. This policy paper identifies some of the key opportunities and constraints in the advancement of ICR and CD in the interactive relationship between culture and foreign policy.
At a recent ArtsFund luncheon, Keynote Steven J. Tepper highlighted the science and statistics behind the role of artistic minds in shaping our future. Dr. Tepper shared data showing that Nobel Prize winners are four times more likely to be musicians, 17 times more likely to be visual artists, and 22 times more likely to be performers than scientists who did not win the Nobel Prize.
Dance Info Finland's campaign leaps over the border of two million people reached. The next step is to encourage people and businesses to donate dance tuitions to people who would not otherwise have a chance to enjoy the benefits of dance.
roshonil (CC BY-NC)
Steven Hadley shares his concerns about the shift towards hyperinstrumentalisation in arts policy, which is giving precedence to wellbeing, educational and economic outcomes over cultural value.
Violent extremism thrives in polarized debates and buils on processes of “othering” and stigmatization. Culture and the arts can play a key role in preventing, countering and reducing the consequences of violent extremism by creating social capital and sense of belonging, by fostering resilience, and ultimately showing that we have more in common than what divides us.
An ambitious and large scale project, The Big Anxiety festival – a University of New South Wales initiative run over seven weeks in Sydney – is trying to not only get people talking about their mental health, but also to alleviate some of the associated pain.
www.agenda21culture.net
Whilst stressing this potential for positive change, it is necessary to recall that processes related to the arrival of refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants can involve instances of fear, friction and isolation, affecting both the host communities and the newly arrived. Cultural participation and interaction can play an important role in alleviating this, but, above all, holistic and transversal policy approaches, involving public authorities and civil society and being sensitive to the needs of all, should be promoted.
In Bookends, two writers take on questions about the world of books. This week, Adam Kirsch and Liesl Schillinger discuss the art yielded by populist and elite mind-sets.

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