Leading through practice
This Research papers series offers a timely response to the need for more easily accessible data and knowledge about, and for, artists.
Over 81% of the artists we surveyed in 2006 confirmed they looked to a-n as their key source in this respect.
The governments desire to quantify the public value of the arts is fuelling debate on the specific roles and functions of practitioners and within Arts Council Englands arts debate, asks the question: When should an artist receive public funding?1 Clearly, it is important that artists themselves can make the case for themselves in this respect, although sometimes it seems that the arenas through which they may do this are less obvious.
Notions of the artist as a cultural leader were captured within a-ns Future forecast enquiry that identified: Funding designed to nurture new cultural leaders should also be made available to artists in recognition of their significant role as social entrepreneurs and catalysts for cultural change.2 Parallel research into the scope and value of artists networks3 similarly set out the environmental conditions through which artists activities create social capital. We thus gave a warm reception to On the Edges proposal to our Commission Fund4 to publish visual arts evidence from a wider study around artists as leaders through their practice.
Overall, such evidence is intended to play its part in making persuasive arguments for public support for artists to be artists at a time when emphasis is placed on the instrumentality of artists, their value essentially as deliverers of the aspirations of others.
1 See www.artsdebate.co.uk for consultation questions around public value of the arts
2 Future forecast: Outcomes and issues, a-n The Artists Information Company, 2006
3 a-n Collections: Impact of networking, a-n The Artists Information Company, 2006
4 Details of how to make proposals to a-ns Commission Fund are on www.a-n.co.uk/contribute
First published: Research papers March 2007
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