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Title: Artists' identities : a study of the living and working conditions of visual artists in Cyprus
Author: Zanti, Niki
ISNI:       0000 0004 5918 5185
Awarding Body: Birkbeck, University of London
Current Institution: Birkbeck (University of London)
Date of Award: 2015
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This study investigates visual artists’ experiences of becoming and being artists in the Republic of Cyprus, providing a missing link between the notion of artistic identity and professional practice. It identifies and analyses the contextual factors that influence their living and working conditions, and develops an understanding of their careers. A grounded theory analysis of visual artists’ experiences and interpretations showed that artistic identity is an integrative element of an individual’s overall sense of identity. This identity is reinforced by the reproduction of the artist myth, which helps artists position themselves in the artworld. The findings suggest that although their conditions have changed significantly over the last decades, a number of visual artists in Cyprus still reproduce the myth in order to make sense of their individual identity. The study makes a significant contribution to the understanding of how artistic identity is influenced by artists’ transitional experiences abroad. It shows that several of them experience a form of reverse culture shock when they return to Cyprus after being abroad for their studies, exhibitions or residencies. It suggests that the current model for re-acculturation is insufficient to illustrate visual artists’ experiences and proposes an adapted theoretical model that more suitably describes them. This model redefines the phases of reverse culture shock and suggests that it is a recurring process instead of an isolated experience. Furthermore, the study proposes a framework for conceptualising visual artists’ career development in Cyprus that can serve as a base for future studies on artistic career trajectories. This framework has generated a composite diagram that illustrates the fluctuant and heterogeneous nature of visual artists’ careers and visualises their individual trajectories in relation to an informally organised infrastructure of services and resources that exerts various influences over the artist’s identity and career development. The analysis concludes that such an understanding is useful in informing how private and public support systems are structured, what mechanisms, policies and practices are most appropriate and when support is needed most.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available