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Art and Culture in Brabant: Meaning and Possibility

Research Group: Cultural and Creative Industries

This research project is a direct response to the 2020 coalition agreement of CDA, VVD, FvD, and Lokaal Brabant in which the art and culture portfolio was abolished, and to the discussion that has arisen as a result. 

Reactions of the opposition (and various public actions) have since resulted in the coalition of VVD, CDA, FvD, and Lokaal Brabant making a concession. The Leisure portfolio has been renamed Leisure, Culture and Sport. 

Were forced to conclude that there are two almost antagonistic positions: on the one hand the populists who devalue art and culture to a hobby (and therefore place it under the portfolio ‘leisure) and on the other hand an elite’ who proclaim institutional art and culture (organised largely by themselvesprincipally as valuable by definition. This research project is a quest for the discourse that is able to look beyond this polarisation. Not by stating what art should be, but rather what it could bring about. A broad empirical research trajectory  establishing contact, building trust, creating dialogue or guided confrontation, analysis of the discourse – could begin to break through the current unproductive confrontation. 

Research question 

What is the significance and value of art and culture for the quality and fabric of social life in the province of Brabant? 

Background

The removal of art and culture from the coalition agreement is of course a dramatic signal. However, such a radical step does not appear from nowhere. In recent years, politics and the (institutional) art world have evidently failed to effectively conduct the social debate about the role of art and culture. This can be seen in the discussion that has now broken out across the Netherlands: the assertions of the elite rarely reach the citizen. Where the elite see art and culture as a positive factor, citizens mainly see adverse effects, such as gentrification and the devaluation of popular culture through cutbacks and the takeover of urban space by the generic culture of an international (or internationally oriented) creative class. This problem is certainly not unique to Brabant, but has everything to do with a national policy that assesses the value of art and culture almost exclusively on the basis of market valorisation. However, we are convinced that the province of Brabant can re-mobilise its historical role as a cultural region by becoming the province that has raised the social dialogue about the meaning and value of art and culture to a new and constructive level. 

Ongoing project, started May 2020. 

Principle investigator
Sebastian Olma 

Other researchers involved
Bart Stuart
Rob Leijdekkers 

Institute  
Avans University of Applied Sciences   

 

‘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, and is a tutor at the Master Institute for Visual Cultures.

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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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