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This article aims to investigate the rhetorics of bad quality in arts and culture. Its focus is how bad quality is described, what kind of argument is used and to what extent descriptions of bad quality have something general in common. The article uses as empirical data reviews of different kinds of cultural expressions in different public media. To compare this kind of public cultural valuation with a quality evaluation that is a part of cultural policy, the analysis makes use of funding decisions from the Norwegian Art Council in the applicants’ disfavour. It deals with instances when the elusive property of quality is not present and has as a vantage point contexts where there is room for and a need to argue for the badness of certain cultural expressions. What kind of vocabulary is at hand for such negative discourses? In what ways can a piece of art or culture be conceived as bad.
English title: A music teachers philosophy of work: Bridging performance, society and education
In this article I discuss the “philosophy of work” of an instrumental music teacher with multiple tasks in basic music education in Norway. This teacher is positioned in a small community school of music and art which has been honoured for manifesting a `best practice` for such schools. Through thematic narrative analyses of various data material, three pivots are identified in this teachers practice; the cultural life, the school, and the artefacts. After the researcher’s narrative: “The Music Teachers’ Everyday”, these pivots are discussed in a theoretical frame inspired by the thoughts of Hans-Georg Gadamer, Martin Heidegger and Christopher Small. Finally, insights from this discussion are directed towards processes of professionalization in the field of performer-teachers.
Keywords: kulturskole, profesjonsforståelse, sensus communis, musicking, samordnet musikklærerstilling
The purpose of the survey that this paper is based on is to obtain new information about the work and income conditions of working artists living and working in Norway. We have mapped the artists’ gender, age, and place of residence, as well as general and professional artistic educational background. We have studied differences both between and within the different artistic groups. Furthermore we have looked into different aspects of the artists’ income, including social security and pensionable income. The survey also shows that the development in real income from 1993 to 2006 among different artist groups is moderate compared with the income development of other occupational groups.
Keywords: Professional artists, work, income, Norway
The Useful Uselessness of the Arts
This article aims to problematize and nuance the dichotomy between the intrinsic value of the arts versus their instrumental role, which is currently being debated within Swedish cultural policy on the national government level. Konstfrämjandets riksorganisation; an arts organisation whose art project Skiss illustrates this dichotomy, is here serving as a case study. The organisation receives a State grant for making art available to all.
With the help of previous research dealing with the dichotomy between the intrinsic value of the arts and their instrumental role, I explore Konstfrämjandet’s view on the value of the arts, in relation to the view on the arts expressed within current national cultural policy documents. Which conflicts and agreements are there and what are the consequences?
I further investigate the arguments used to legitimise the arts within Swedish cultural policy, and thus touch upon the legitimacy of cultural policy itself. The arguments used to entitle public grants to the arts are here further explored and problematized. In relation to the dichotomy between the intrinsic value of the arts and their instrumental role, a general view regarding the role of the arts and the artists’ roles in society is presented.
Keywords: Dichotomy, Intrinsic value, Instrumentality, Konstfrämjandet, Swedish cultural policy.
Nyckelord: Dikotomi, Egenvärde, Instrumentalitet, Konstfrämjandet, Svensk kulturpolitik.
English title: «One step back?»: The choice of artistic career among young people with migrant backgrounds and the family’s mobility aspirations
Artists with migrant background represent a new, but still relatively small group in the Norwegian cultural life and arts production. Their situation has been the subject of public attention, both in cultural policy debates and through cultural policy initiatives. Research on this group of Norwegian artists has however been scarce. This article is based on 20 in-depth qualitative interviews with people who were born in or moved to Norway as a child. Their parents moved to Norway from countries such as Vietnam, India and Pakistan. We thus study the «second-generation» exclusively, i.e. people who from this social position seek out artistic careers. They are actors, dancers, visual artists, authors and musicians. The focus in the article is on their family backgrounds and the minority communities, and how these generate social mechanisms that confront young people with migrant background what regards educational and occupational choices. These mechanisms, related to social networks, cultural backgrounds and especially social class and mobility, are important reasons behind the low participation of ethnic minority groups in the arts production. The main finding is that artistic careers are viewed, in many migrant groups and especially the parent generation, as a «step back» in terms of social mobility.
Key words: Arts and cultural sector, migration, the second-generation, social class, social audiences, cultural repertoires
Nøkkelord: Kunst- og kultursektor, migrasjon, andregenerasjonen, sosial klasse, sosiale publikum, kulturelle repertoarer
European book policy: Fixed prices as a cultural policy tool
Book laws are gaining momentum as a cultural policy tool in Europe. The EU has for some time contested price regulations of the national book industries in the form of fixed book prices as exemptions from free competition. However, fixed price regulations in the form of a book law, are accepted, as it is a cultural policy law, and therefore a national concern. A book law is intended to preserve diversity of publications and distributions outlets, in the form of book shops, throughout the country. In addition, it is meant to preserve book production in national languages. This article presents the European countries that have a book law and fixed prices on books, and contrasts these with the Western European countries that have a free price on books, to see which regulations best protect cultural policy values. The comparison shows that free prices on books lead to increased sales of fewer titles and lower prices on selected best sellers, while fixed prices help support more titles in the market, a lower average price for all books, and maintain a magnitude of bookshops throughout the country. Measured by cultural policy indicators, our study supports the claim that book laws protect cultural policy values to a higher degree than free competition in the book industry.
Key words: Cultural policy, literature policy, competition policy, book law, fixed book prices, EU, book industry
Nøkkelord: Kulturpolitikk, litteraturpolitikk, konkurransepolitikk, boklov, frie bokpriser, EU, bokbransje
This article presents results from a study of prequalification in architectural competitions. The aim is to develop knowledge of how the organizer appoints candidates to invited competitions. Prequalification is a selection procedure used early in the competition process to identify suitable candidates for the following design phase. Usually three to six teams are invited to develop design proposals. The overall research question in the study is about how organizers identify architects / design teams for competitions with limited participation.
The methodology includes an inventory of competitions, case studies, document review and interviews of key-persons. Ten municipal and governmental competitions have been examined in the study. In five of these competitions 19 informants have reported their experiences of prequalification. The informants responded to an interview guide with questions on the background of the competition, development of the invitation, and the need for information about the candidates, assessment process and experience from the selection of architects / design teams.
The invitation emerges during negotiation at the organizing body, which includes discussion with the Swedish Association of Architects. General conditions, submission requirements and criteria for the evaluation of applications by architect firms are part of an established practice. All clients have an assessment procedure made up of two distinct stages. First they check whether applications meet the specific "must requirements" in the invitation. Thereafter follows an evaluative assessment of the candidate's professional profile, which is based on the criteria in the invitation. Reference projects and information from the referees are important sources of information in this stage. Decisive in the final assessment is the organizer's perception of the candidates' ability to produce projects of architectural quality, the ability to combine creative solutions with functional requirements and aptitude to work with developers and contractors.