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Culture and the Foundational Economy

At the 6th Foundational Economy Conference, 14-16th September Vienna
Exploring the foundational economy for just transitionarrow


Caradt professor Sebastian Olma, along with a group of international collaborators, joint the Australian Reset collective to present their research at the Foundational Economy conferencearrow on 14-16th September at the University of Technology, Vienna.

The Reset Collectivearrow began in 2021, convinced that the creative industries paradigm had not only run its course but was actively damaging cultural policy’s ability to grapple with new challenges. They also suggested that without culture many existing programmes of transition would be weakened. Reset identified the Foundational Approach as a useful way of radically rethinking the ground of a new progressive cultural policy.

In two panel sessions they presented their work on culture and the foundational approach, anticipating the forthcoming book Culture is Not an Industry by former Caradt visiting professor, Justin O’Connor.arrow They discussed how it might relate to “doughnut economics” and how it might help expand the framing of that approach. They also presented the results of a comparative empirical study of foundational and cultural employment in Melbourne and Manchester.

A second session looked at the actual politics of cultural policy from a perspective derived from Kristen Ross’ work on the Paris Commune “Communal Luxury.“ The different contributions attempted to insert a radical and popular culture into the frame of the foundational economy. In doing so, they built on the recently published 3rd edition of Caradt’s online journal Making and Breakingarrow

Sebastian Olma looked at current attempts at democratising culture through the lens of at Mark Fisher’s rethinking of the radical sixties. Justin O‘Connor took issue with recent attempts to dismiss the politics of culture as a project of the professional managerial class. Unfortunately, Kate Oakley’s presentation on the English Premier League and its discontents had to be cancelled but can be accessed, in an earlier version, herearrow.

‘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.

Sebastian Olma arrow

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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