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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Between 6 and 9 October, Flanders Arts Institute, together with a substantial delegation of artists and arts organisations from Flanders and Brussels, took part in the IETM Satellite Meeting in Beirut. A Satellite Meeting is a smaller gathering of the IETM network, each time with a focus on a specific theme and/or region.
Poster of When Swallows Cry, play by Mike Van Graan
"To be a writer does not require race essentialism and/or racial solidarity; it requires human empathy."
From 26 to 29 January, IETM organised a Caravan meeting in Tehran, coincided and partly hosted by the Fajr International Festival. Since we preferred to meet with a broader slice of the performing arts scene, especially the ‘independent’ artists and those forced to work ‘underground’, our daytime programme was compiled by several partners in Tehran.
Salzburg Global Seminar
The role of the arts and cultural sector and resilience is being discussed by Salzburg Global Seminar at the session The Art of Resilience: Creativity, Courage, and Renewal. Fellows at this session have a vast amount of experience in their fields. Here are a few of their thoughts.
Tazreen
Last year I was the recipient of an Individual Artist Grant from the Asian Cultural Council in New York that enabled me to live and work in Dhaka, Bangladesh from October to December 2016. My project was to research the garment factory industry by focusing upon women who survived the 2012 Tazreen Factory Fire.
A systematic literature review of contributions to the arts and cultural sector which have appeared in accounting journals shows that the evaluation of the artistic performance of publicly funded arts organizations is not a purely procedural and technical issues relating to the production of better performance information, but it is above all a substantive and political one relating to the nature of the arts and the function of publicly funded arts organizations in individual communities and in society in general.
What will the Trump administration mean for arts, culture and entertainment? How bleak — or not — is the outlook for everything? Will Congress, solidly under total Republican control, actually follow through on their decades-long threat to defund the National Endowment for the Arts?
From the first reading of When Swallows Cry at the Market Theatre in August, 2016. Photo: Courtesy of Mike van Graan
Is there still room for theatre to be political? Does it relate to any kind of profound and effective radicalism or is it all just another item in the structures of the capitalist economy?
Culture has the power to make cities more prosperous, safer and sustainable, according to UNESCO's Global Report on Culture for Sustainable Urban Development ‘Culture: Urban Future’, launched this year in Quito (Ecuador) on the occasion of the Third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Development (Habitat III). The Report recommends building on culture as a sustainable resource for inclusive economic and social development for cities.
Since leaving multi-arts venue Rich Mix a few months ago, I’ve been reflecting on what I learned over my six years there and how some of the things we take for granted in the arts are not always as they seem. Coming into the industry from a local government background I brought a fair few pre-conceived notions with me that time, experience and data have now put to rest.

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