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Title: "We need arts as much as we need food. Our responsibility is for that to be possible" : insights from Scottish cultural leaders on the changing landscape of their work
Author: Webb, Aleksandra
ISNI:       0000 0004 5356 9508
Awarding Body: University of Stirling
Current Institution: University of Stirling
Date of Award: 2014
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The analysis of cultural policy in the last decade suggests that creativity and the arts in general are extensively used in political agendas as means of capitalizing on the forecasted socio-economic potential of creative/artistic activities (e.g. Flew, 2005; Garnham, 2005; Hartley, 2005; Hesmondhalgh, 2007). Although some critical studies have highlighted instrumentalism, short-sidedness and practice/practitioners’ averse policy-making and intervention planning (Belfiore, 2004, 2009; Caust, 2003; Oakley, 2009; Newman, 2013), so far only very few studies have exposed the experiences and voices of particular groups of creative workers in the different national (country-specific) contexts to support this criticism. There has been a significant lack of studies that aim to understand how creative workers experience and cope with the changing policy context in their work. In particular, the voice of non-artists has rarely been considered when seeking a better understanding of the sector’s dynamics. This thesis explored the Scottish cultural sector through the eyes of cultural leaders. The study was carried out during a time of significant transformation to the funding structure, processes and relationships in the sector, catalysed by the establishment of a new funding agency (the funder). It focuses on cultural leaders’ understandings of an increasingly politicised cultural landscape that constitutes the context of their work. The thesis also looks at the influence of these understandings on the leaders’ role responsibilities, as well as the essence and the sustainability of the cultural sector. The empirical work for the thesis followed a qualitative research approach and focused on 21 semi-structured interviews with cultural leaders and industry experts based in Scotland. These individuals were purposefully chosen as a group of stakeholders who are able to engage in discussions about the cultural sector in the context of recent changes in the governance and financial subsidy of Scottish (publically funded) arts. The research findings illustrated the importance of leaders’ values and beliefs, which reflect the purpose of their work and shape their enactments in the sector. In particular, the intrinsic motivation, artistic ambitions, social and civic responsibilities of leaders emerged as crucial qualities of their work roles. The findings revealed a discrepancy between these artistic and civic concerns of cultural leaders and the socio-economic expectations of the funder, which contributed to a great deal of unproductive ('inorganic') tensions for which leaders had to find coping mechanisms. Bourdieu’s (1977, 1992) theoretical concepts were used as a starting point in understanding the cultural sector as a cultural field, and cultural leaders as actors enacting their work-related practices in the evolving socio-political and economic system of cultural production. However, upon further analysis of the data, the notions of a ‘worldview’ and ‘stewardship’ emerged and were used to better explain the greater complexity of work in today’s cultural sector. This thesis thus builds upon Bourdieu’s concept of ‘field’ and ‘artistic logic’ and explains the changing cultural sector as a holistic cultural field where cultural leaders enact their stewardship-like work responsibilities from within a strong and dynamic artistic worldview.
Supervisor: Rozuel, Cecile; Bauld, Linda Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Cultural and creative industries ; cultural policy ; cultural field ; Bourdieu ; cultural leaders ; funding of arts ; Scotland ; ‘artistic worldview’ ; ‘socio-economic worldview’ ; cultural stewardship ; responsibilities ; cultural sustainability ; coping with change ; game-play ; policy/practice ; Arts Economic aspects ; Psychology ; Industrial ; Scotland Cultural policy