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RESET: ART AND CULTURE AFTER THE PANDEMIC | Expert Policy Workshop at Kunstloc Brabant – 7 Oct 2022

On 7 October, Caradt teamed up with Henri Swinkels, director of Kunstloc Branbant for a policy workshop with Justin O’Connor, Professor of Cultural Economy at the University of South Australia and currently visiting fellow at Caradt. Policy makers, practitioners and educators joined us at the LocHal in Tilburg to discuss the future of the arts and culture.

Professor O’Connor called for a repositioning of arts and culture away from ‘creative industries’ and ‘creative economy’, a language which stifles culture’s ability to address the dire challenges that now face us. He argues that the sector not only needs support for post-pandemic recovery, but a total reset: “We need to reset our shared understandings of art and culture, and the language in which we frame them.” The currently widely used terms “creative industries” or “cultural and creative sectors” reduce the sector to a consumer-driven industry, downgrading its wider transformative potential.

As O’Connor made clear during the lively discussion following his presentation, it is urgent to reposition at the heart of the debate the issue about the value, purpose and place of the arts and culture, considering contemporary feminist, post-colonial, ecological, indigenous, and social enterprise perspectives.

Indeed, O’Connor advocated a departure from the neoliberal commercial-transactional model towards a “foundational economy” whereby a GDP-based economy is replaced by local and regional development policies committed to a more equitable and fair quality of life for all. It is not only about the need for budget increases for the arts and culture but, rather, about the need for public policies that acknowledge and support the public value of the arts and culture for society alongside other policy areas such as health and education.

In the future, Caradt professor Sebastian Olma and Henri Swinkels will continue and intensify their collaboration on these questions.

‘Our research group investigates the role artists, designers and cultural producers in general can play in developing the aesthetics and poetics of a desirable future.’

Sebastian Olma is professor Cultural and Creative Industries. He works for the Expertise Centre Art, Design and Technology.

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Research Group: Cultural and Creative Industries

The research group Cultural and Creative Industries investigates the role of artists and designers as creative innovators and drivers of social and economic change. Affiliated researchers analyse the cultural and creative industries from a critical point of view and examine the conditions under which timely forms of aesthetic expression and social connectedness can actually take place within the precarious reality of this field. What economic models are required by artists and designers to create a meaningful practice within the aesthetic, social, and economic intentions of the cultural and creative industries? What skills sets are required for those artists and designers who don’t just want to follow movements, but actually shape novel social and economic models of the future?

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