Project

Rapids and backwaters - Adapting fast and slow to a digital cultural turn

Goal: Major changes happen at different rates. This is certainly true of digitization, perhaps the main driver of change in the last decades. Rapids and backwaters is a project that investigates fast and slow adaptation to the digital within the field of culture.

The project aims to answer these questions: How has digitization affected how different cultural workers organize their work, earn money and create value? How can digital culture be regulated nationally and internationally, and what consequences does this have for a national cultural policy?

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Project log

Christian Handke
added 2 research items
Crowdfunding is an innovation from the cultural sector that has found broad applications in other aspects of the economy. We document that cultural economics provides a refined structure to explain much of the crowdfunding phenomenon, which will be useful for any research on this topic. Based on central themes of cultural economics (including quality and demand uncertainty, socially interdependent demand formation, public good attributes, and intrinsic motivation to create), we extend on the current understanding in the crowdfunding literature regarding three fundamental questions: (1) under what circumstances is crowdfunding a superior alternative to traded means of financing innovative projects? (2) What types of crowdfunding are best suited for specific (cultural and creative) industries (CCI)? (3) What is the potential of crowdfunding for cultural and creative industries? Overall, we describe crowdfunding as a flexible tool for mitigating various, fundamental challenges in CCI and beyond. We also identify limitations of crowdfunding, which for now, severely restrict its application. Arguably, the main boon of crowdfunding for cultural economics is not so much that it makes markets (for cultural products) much more efficient and fosters growth. Instead, crowdfunding enables sophisticated empirical research on central topics of cultural economics, and a rich and diverse literature has begun lifting that treasure.
Ole Marius Hylland
added a research item
To what extent did the Covid-19 pandemic affect the tools, priorities and organisation of cultural policies? And did the pandemic enhance the digital aspect of these policies? This paper compares pandemic cultural policy measures in seven European countries to answer these questions. The countries all installed a plurality of mitigating measures, combining grants and subsidies, compensation of lost income, income support and financial flexibility, creating a tendency towards cultural policy turning into economic policy, fiscal policy, and labour market policy. Cultural policies have not been fundamentally challenged by the pandemic, in the sense that it has affected the essential political tools, divisions of labour, or core goals. The responses have confirmed an existing policy structure or enhanced existing developments. The importance of a state-centred or a federalist cultural policy system has not been challenged in a substantial way. Secondly there is little evidence to show a general acceleration of national digital cultural policies.
Ole Marius Hylland
added a research item
This paper describes digital cultural policy as a slow and ambivalent or reluctant revolution in a policy field. In investigates how cultural policy has gradually been affected by digitalization in the field of cultural production. I argue that digital cultural policy has developed in a sedimentary fashion, but that it also has been continuously marked by a certain ambivalence towards the digital revolution. Digital cultural policy is ultimately described as a field of hyperconvergence, where ideas, political tools, technology, and policy areas are entangled to an increasing degree. This challenges the research on and the analysis of digital cultural policy. The paper is primarily based on a close reading of Norwegian cultural policy documents. I have employed all the white papers on cultural policy from the Ministry of Culture between 1973 and 2019 – both the ones that explicitly deal with cultural policy and the ones that deal with a specific field of the arts (performing arts, visual arts, music etc.), as well as annual reports from Arts Council Norway between 1975 and 2018.
Mira Burri
added a research item
The original goal of copyright, as embedded in both international and national legal frameworks, has been to foster creativity and the arts by providing a temporary monopoly for the creator over her works, as well as certain conditions for access to these works that permit follow-up innovation and the distribution of knowledge and culture. The balance of rights has always been precarious and doubts about the proper functioning of copyright systems as a true engine for creativity existed. The digital age, with its incredible technological affordances and low threshold of participation, has trigged both concerns for massive copyright infringement and unprecedented opportunities for creative work. Legal systems have adapted over time to reflect this technological change, yet the jury is still out on whether these adjustments were appropriate and in line with copyright’s original goal. The chapter discusses these newer developments in copyright law. It then looks in particular at the role of digital intermediaries as critical actors in the new creative space and exposes the dangers that recent legal initiatives may pose to creativity through the private power of platforms, the use of algorithms and possible limitations to access to and use of creative and artistic works. The chapter ultimately asks whether there are copyright models that can better foster contemporary creativity and the arts.
Ole Marius Hylland
added a research item
This paper¹ describes and analyses how the live performing arts sector in Norway adapted to the abrupt change that affected most European countries in mid-March 2020. Based on a mid-pandemic empirical analysis, it argues that the sudden lockdown due to Covid-19 created a real-time laboratory for digital adaptation within the culture sector. In light of this digital adaptation, I ask whether this rapid digital turn represented a disruption in the cultural sector, and whether the sudden digitalization challenged the structures of cultural production. The paper argues that the digital adaptations to Covid-19 in central parts of the cultural sector have represented a temporary disruption. Rather than fast-forwarding a digital development, the pandemic digital turn has even more than illuminated the innovative and transformative potential of the digital, accentuated the value of the analogue. Still, it will be a continuing task for research in the years to come to assess the potential lasting implications of Covid-related digitalizations in the cultural sector.
Christian Handke
added a research item
Crowdfunding is an innovation from the cultural sector that has found broad applications in other aspects of the economy. We document that cultural economics provides a useful structure to explain much of the crowdfunding phenomenon, which will be useful for any re-search on this topic. Based on central themes of cultural economics (including quality and demand uncertainty, socially interdependent demand formation, public good attributes, and intrinsic motivation to create), we extend on the current understanding in the crowdfunding literature regarding three fundamental questions: (1) under what circumstances is crowd-funding a superior alternative to traded means of financing innovative projects? (2) What types of crowdfunding are best suited for specific (cultural and creative) industries? (3) What is the potential of crowdfunding for cultural and creative industries? Overall, we de-scribe crowdfunding as a sophisticated and flexible tool for mitigating various, fundamental challenges in CCI and beyond. We also identify limitations of crowdfunding, which for now, severely restrict its application. Arguably, the main boon of crowdfunding for cultural economics is not so much that it makes markets (for cultural products) much more efficient and fosters growth. Instead, crowdfunding enables sophisticated empirical research on central topics of cultural economics, and a rich and diverse literature has begun lifting that treasure.
Kristine Persdatter Miland
added an update
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Kristine Persdatter Miland
added a project goal
Major changes happen at different rates. This is certainly true of digitization, perhaps the main driver of change in the last decades. Rapids and backwaters is a project that investigates fast and slow adaptation to the digital within the field of culture.
The project aims to answer these questions: How has digitization affected how different cultural workers organize their work, earn money and create value? How can digital culture be regulated nationally and internationally, and what consequences does this have for a national cultural policy?