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Who cares? At what price? The hidden costs of socially engaged arts labour and the moral failure of cultural policy

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journal contribution
posted on 04.12.2020, 08:55 by Ele BelfioreEle Belfiore
In the broader context of research into cultural labour, this article focuses analytical attention on working conditions within socially engaged arts practice, which have been under-researched to date. In particular, the article aims to uncover the unacknowledged costs shouldered by socially engaged practitioners working on publicly subsidised participatory projects. On the basis of the analysis of qualitative interviews with socially engaged artists and creative professionals, the paper calls for an explicit effort to bring our public cultural institutions to task in relation to what Mark Banks (2017) calls ‘creative justice’. This entails highlighting the mechanisms of systemic exploitation of artists within current funding practices, and the ways in which project-based funding rarely incorporates, as a matter of course, provisions to ensure the fulfilment of duties of care towards both artists and participating communities. The article draws on feminist ethics of care to advance a first intervention towards developing fresh thinking on the moral economy of the subsidised arts sector; it does this starting from an acknowledgement that the normative environments of contemporary arts funding point to a clear moral failure of cultural policy.

Funding

The politics of cultural value: Towards an emancipatory framework

Arts and Humanities Research Council

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History

School

  • Social Sciences and Humanities

Department

  • Communication and Media

Published in

European Journal of Cultural Studies

Publisher

SAGE Publications

Version

VoR (Version of Record)

Rights holder

© The authors

Publisher statement

This is an Open Access Article. It is published by Sage under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported Licence (CC BY). Full details of this licence are available at: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Acceptance date

02/06/2020

Publication date

2021-01-09

Copyright date

2021

ISSN

1367-5494

eISSN

1460-3551

Language

en

Depositor

Prof Ele Belfiore. Deposit date: 3 December 2020