Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
RN02_05: Barriers and Opportunities in the Arts
Thursday, 22/Aug/2019:
11:00am - 12:30pm

Session Chair: Victoria D. Alexander, Goldsmiths, University of London
Location: GM.306
Manchester Metropolitan University Building: Geoffrey Manton, Third Floor 4 Rosamond Street West Off Oxford Road

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Barriers and Opportunities in Culture - Access to Art in Europe

Tal Feder

Tel Aviv University, Israel

Access to art is considered a basic human right, but it is unequally distributed in society, since barriers to consumption appear in various forms and different contexts. Discrepancies in access to art between social groups generate differences in levels and manners of engagement with art which are referred to as ‘cultural inequality.' A central goal of most arts policies is the promotion of access to art and ‘cultural justice’. This paper explores access to art, cultural equality and cultural justice in Europe. I study how access to art is distributed in different countries along axes such as class, education, place of residence and ethnicity and what are the key factors that determine different types of access to art. I explore how access to art is related to the notions of cultural equality and cultural justice and how cultural policies are developed to support cultural equality in the face of contemporary economic recessions, immigration waves and the rise of digital art consumption. The study makes use of surveys from different countries that pertain to access to art such as The Eurobarometer survey in Europe; The Encuesta de hábitos y prácticas culturales in Spain; The TGI survey in Ireland; The Norwegian cultural barometer in Norway and others. I conduct a comparative analysis of access to art based on these surveys. I distinguish between different types of access to art and link the discrepancies between countries in levels of access to art to differences in social stratification and arts policy.

Experiences of Discrimination and Harassment among Artists: The Case of Finnish Visual Artists

Sari Karttunen

Center for Cultural Policy Research CUPORE, Finland

The #MeToo movement has raised heated debates in and around the art world. Stories about the film industry and the performing arts have made media headlines. Visual art has received less attention, although it also provides ample cases of discrimination, harassment and exploitation. My paper deals with visual artists in the Finnish context that has features that I presume make them vulnerable to abuses. They include, e.g., the high dependence on grants, hence on peer-reviewers. Also, the number of graduates, and women among them, has increased fast, and the field is very competitive.

My presentation draws upon data from the Finnish Arts Barometer Surveys 2017 and 2018. With annually shifting key themes and respondent groups, the survey maps out the operational environment of the arts. The 2017 edition was targeted on young artists, while the latter covered all age groups and focused on mobility. Both surveys contained recurrent questions dealing with, among other things, experiences of inequality, discrimination and harassment. The number of visual artists in the data is altogether around 600.

In the presentation I aim to connect the inequalities and abuses reported by visual artists to the established practices and structural features of the respective art field. Based on the first rounds of close reading, many types of discrimination and harassment emerge in the data, including sexual harassment by teachers, (other) gatekeepers and buying customers. The weaker status of young, female and immigrant artists is repeated in the statements. Many artists also feel that their job is despised and ridiculed in wider society.

Liberator For The Oppressed, Or A Useful Tool For The Dictatorship? Analysing Controversial Art Projects In North Korea, In Light Of Goffman

Målfrid Irene Hagen

MI Hagen, Norway

In his theory on performance and reality, Erwin Goffman (1959) describes two kinds of extremes, sincerity and cynism. In this paper I discuss a series of controversial art projects conducted by a Norwegian artist in North Korea & Norway between 2013-2017. I analyse how the artist present the projects, as well as how they are debated in the media, in light of Goffman. The projects involve North Korean performers and audience, including many youths and children. A reason for examining this case, is also that the Arts Council Norway supported the projects economically with a great amount of money. In particular, I look at how the artist and the Arts Council defend the project in the media, in order to legitimate the costs and make the art project that appear unethical to many people, as expressed in the media debates, appear ethical. The artist claim that the projects are for the best of the North Korean participants. However, many of his statements to the media reveal another attitude to the projects, which is also in accordance with the theory of Goffman.

Mapping Accessibilities Of Art Institutions

Dagmar Pelger, Séverine Marguin

Technische Universität Berlin, Germany

At the interface between sociology of the arts and architecture, our lecture aims to make a spatial-sociological contribution to museums and public studies. The theme of our empirical analysis is the accessibility of the reknown Berlin art institutions "House of the Cultures of the World" (HKW): how inclusive or exclusive is the HKW? Addressing this question on a spatial-material but also social-political level, we investigated the entanglement between the architectural morphology and the feeling of belonging or exclusion (Bourdieu & Darbel 1991, 112). For that we focussed on three dimensions, including an original emphasis on physical materiality: the actors (artists, audience, staff, project partners); the resources (buildings, landscape structure, furnishing, symbolic capital, network, funding, ...) and the rules and regulations of inclusion and exclusion.

Within an interdisciplinary research and teaching project, we conducted a methodical experiment on mixing different mapping techniques (Corner, 1997) with the aim of visually synthesising qualitative and quantitative data collections. Compiling expert interviews, participative observations, collective workshops, questionaries and preliminary cartographies in one BIG Map, we analysed the entanglement between structures, morphologies and atmospheres of openness or closedness on the scale of the surrounding and the building of the HKW. On the basis of this visual analysis, we developed different aspects of accessibility – walkability, visibility, permeability, openness and appropriation – as a spatial sociological analysis of how people cross the threshold of an art institution.

Bourdieu, P. and Darbel, A., 1991: The love of art: European art museums and their public.Trans. Caroline Beattie and Nick Merriman. Cambridge: Polity Press

Corner, J., 1999: The Agency of Mapping: Speculation, Critique and Invention. S. 213–300 in: D. Cosgrove (Hrsg.), Mappings. Reaktion Books.

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