Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Art market (‘The re-privatization of the contemporary art world: private collectors and artist-entrepreneurs in the changing geographies of European art’)
Reporting period: 2017-01-01 to 2018-06-30
In short, the project examined the idea there is an ongoing re-privatisation of the European art world, in which increasingly it is private art collectors and communities of artist-entrepreneurs that are creating commercial value in the contemporary art market. The project suggests that this means new critical investigations of agency, value creation and creativity of the art world are needed. This is important because contemporary art is an area of activity that is central to both European cultural and economic development. The thriving European art scene is also a key field within the creative and cultural industries identified as central to Europe’s development and integration by both the Creative Europe strategy and the Europe 2020 strategy.
The overall aim of the project has been to contribute to important non-academic and academic debates over the geography and practice of the art world, by exploring how this rebalancing is changing how and where agency and value creation now takes place. Equally the project has been a training and mobility fellowship and has involved the training and development of an experienced researcher through: a) time spent in one of Europe’s most innovative centres for human geography research; and b) having the time to develop a new intra-disciplinary empirical research project.
The project was based on four Work Packages (WPs). WP 1 Research programme: this started with an extensive literature review, and then followed with in-depth qualitative research on art milieus and processes. As the project developed initial ideas of how the empirical work should look changed as it became apparent that archival work as well as digital methodologies could shed new light on the issues at the heart of the empirical project. WP 2 Training: Focused on training and skill transfer and involved formal training courses as well as collaborative workshops in London. WP3 Career Development: this was about career development activities assuring the development and transfer of appropriate skills as well as monitoring progress. At its core was the use of mentoring and interaction with the host institution to develop a long-term career development plan. It also involved contributing to the host institution for example by actively engaging with the PhD group and by visiting other academic milieus in the UK (f ex acting an external examiner for a PhD). WP4 Dissemination: this was about specific dissemination and communication activities such as publishing and organising workshops and conferences. In terms of dissemination during the period one article and one book chapter were published and 3 other individual and collaborative publications plus one edited volume on cultural industries and value are in progress.Dissemination has also involved attending and organising conferences and workshops based on the project.
Second, research to date has overwhelmingly focused on the producers of art and seldom art’s audience. This project addressed these lacunae in particular by engaging with ideas of the artist entrepreneur and by studying the increasing customer group of art collectors. The results suggest that art collectors are not only increasingly important and sophisticated customers, but they also often develop personal relationships of patronage with individual artists and are increasingly active in constructing exhibition spaces and thereby the institutional and symbolic contexts within art worlds. Collectors are not just customers but active curators and participants in art that we need to include in how we understand and make regional, economic and cultural policy that effects the European art market and world.