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An account of the academic institutionalisation of cultural policy research. A Nordic perspective

Per Mangset is a Sociologist of Culture, Professor emeritus at the University of South-Eastern Norway and a senior researcher at Telemark Research Institute. His areas of interest include leisure; cultural professionalisation; arts audience; models and history of cultural policy in Western Europe; international cultural cooperation; artist roles in transition; comparative sports and cultural policy and entrepreneurialism. Mangset has conducted several large research projects on cultural policy.

In this paper, I try to describe the main aspects of the international academic institutionalisation of cultural policy research since the 1990s. My focus is primarily Nordic and anglophone, without ignoring contributions from other countries/continents or linguistic/cultural regions. The introduction of – and increasing emphasis on – ‘peer review’ characterises this academic institutionalisation process, in general and in our field of research in particular. Since the 1990s, cultural policy scholars have developed several peer review-based research journals and conferences. Universities and research institutes are also recruiting more Ph.D. students, researchers and/or teachers in this field of research through peer review selection than before. In this paper, I focus in particular on the creation of academic research journals and international conferences, without concealing that I have myself been an active agent in this same international academic institutionalisation process. My approach is historical/descriptive rather than sociological/analytic.



Since the Second World War, many countries – especially modern welfare states – have developed public cultural policies. Subsequently, public authorities have demanded research and evaluations in this field; primarily applied research of course. Gradually, particularly since the 1990s, academic institutions have also become more interested in studying cultural policies and topics in the cultural field. Consequently, there has been an increasing focus on basic research, in addition to the continuing applied research focus, including in this field of research.

In the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, a small number of international organisations (Unesco and the Council of Europe in particular) sought to promote cultural policy research. They considered sociologically oriented research and statistics as necessary and integrated instruments for the development of a new, welfare-oriented public cultural policy. A select group of internationally oriented civil servants, e.g. Augustin Girard in France and Carl-Johan Kleberg in Sweden, were pioneers who sought to develop cultural policy research activities, both within the contexts of these organisations and in their own countries (Vestheim 2018a and 2018b). During the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, several researchers, in many countries, conducted research and evaluations, commissioned by ministries of culture, regional or local cultural authorities, and international organisations. Applied research and evaluations of this nature, closely connected to public authorities, was institutionalised within research and evaluation departments in ministries of culture (e.g. France in 1963) or arts councils (e.g. in Finland in 1992 and Norway in 1994), or as more autonomous semi-public institutions (e.g. Boekmanstichting in the Netherlands in 1963 and Cupore (Center for Cultural Policy Research) in Finland in 2002)1. The development of public cultural policies also gave rise to a certain professionalisation of cultural administrations, not least at the regional and local levels (Mangset 1984; Kangas, et al. 1994; Halonen 2005). Subsequently, several universities and university colleges developed programmes for educating new professionals for this field (e.g. Telemark University College, Norway (1975)2, the University of Jyväskylä, Finland (in the 1980s)3 and the University of Warwick, UK (1993)).

During the 1980s and 1990s, several public and semi-public organisations sought to promote and unite research institutions and researchers in this field internationally. One of these attempts, supported by the Council of Europe, was the ‘Cultural Information and Research Centres Liaison in Europe (Circle)’4. Circle organised conferences and seminars, and created an information network among researchers. In 1996, Circle sought to map ‘cultural research in Europe’ through a survey in cooperation with Boekmanstichting (Hamersveld/Wielen 1996). Circle was established in 1984 and ceased to exist in 2007.

In the mid-1980s, the Council of Europe decided to start a programme of systematic evaluations of European countries’ cultural policies: the so-called ‘country reviews’ (Vestheim 2018a). The first country to be reviewed/evaluated was France (1988) and the second Sweden (1990) (Wangermée/Gournay 1988; Council of Europe 1990). By 2013, the cultural policies of more than 30 European countries had been evaluated. Usually, the countries were reviewed in two steps: first by a national expert/group of experts and subsequently by a foreign/external expert/group of experts. Some of these experts were experienced researchers, while others were fairly senior civil servants in arts councils or ministries of culture. Some of these country reviews made valuable contributions to research-based knowledge of European cultural policies. Generally, however, they were not independent research publications, and their semi-public character reduced their value as contributions to independent research.5 , 6

All in all, it is quite obvious that public authorities’ demands for research and evaluations were the initial impetus behind the development of cultural policy research in many countries after the Second Wold War. Such demands for ‘useful’ and/or ‘instrumental’ research are a permanent challenge to the research communities.

Only a small number of Nordic researchers conducted cultural policy research projects during the 1970s and 1980s; often researchers outside the central research communities and metropoles. They were often quite isolated individual researchers, not members of substantial groups of researchers. Nevertheless, Nordic cultural policy researchers had published books, reports and some scientific articles on national and/or local cultural policies before the 1990s (e.g. Swedner et al. 1974; Billing 1978; Kangas 1983; Mangset 1984; Skot-Hansen 1984; Nilsson 1984), but they did not frequently publish articles in international peer review journals before this time (e.g. Vestheim 1994; Bille Hansen 1995; Mangset 1995; Kangas/Onser-Franzén 1996).

Since the early 1990s, cultural policy research has experienced an ‘academic turn’, i.e. an academic institutionalisation process, on an international level and in several countries. A more or less autonomous international academic research community has developed in this research field, promoted by researchers in universities, university colleges, institutes and a small number of independent researchers. Does this imply that ‘cultural policy research’ is about to become a new, autonomous, academic discipline internationally? This is hardly the case. I have previously briefly discussed the institutionalisation of cultural policy research with reference to classic sociology of science scholars, such as Ben-David and Collins (1966) and Clark (1972) (cf. Mangset 2010). In this previous article, I focused on the institutional aspects of the establishment of (new) academic disciplines in general, i.e. the establishment of specific networks of researchers (‘scientific communities’), research programmes, academic teaching programmes, academic positions, research conferences, academic journals, etc. According to Clark (1972), a new ‘discipline’ should also be able to tell its history of origin, name its pioneers and refer to some specific canonical texts by leading theorists (i.e. “a pantheon of leading thinkers”). Since the early 1990s, such an academic institutionalisation process appears to have taken place – on an international level – in cultural policy research. I would suggest that such a process also implies the development of a reasonably autonomous ‘research community’ with specific scientific values and standards, relatively independent of both public authorities and direct market interests. It would be an overstatement, however, to say that cultural policy research has undergone a complete institutionalisation process to become a new international academic discipline. It is more relevant to speak about a new, relatively autonomous, research field; it is a fairly heterogeneous, multidisciplinary research field, however. It is also difficult to define a specific theoretical canon – i.e. “a pantheon of leading thinkers” – capable of uniting most researchers in this field. Nevertheless, a certain academic institutionalisation process has undoubtedly taken place internationally since the 1990s, i.e.:

  • Establishment of international research conferences (with peer evaluation)

  • Establishment of international research journals (with peer evaluation)

  • Establishment of autonomous units – with specific academic positions (professors, associate professors, etc., recruited through peer review) – in some universities/university colleges in several countries

  • Establishment of specific research-based educational programmes in universities/university colleges (i.e. master’s and/or Ph.D. programmes)

  • Increasing interest in non-instrumental research problems

  • Increasing interest in relevant theories7

  • Introduction of peer evaluation of research projects and publications

  • Financing of research by national and international research councils (based on peer review)

  • More distinct qualitative hierarchies between publications and institutions8

One could compare the case of cultural policy with the academic institutionalisation of several other ‘new’ research fields and/or disciplines, e.g. cultural studies, media studies and nursing education (Sørensen et al. 2008; Høystad 2010; Mangset 2010; Laiho 2010). Cultural studies, for instance, has undergone a rather similar academic institutionalisation process internationally: It is a fairly heterogeneous and multidisciplinary academic field; it undoubtedly has several ‘leading thinkers’ or ‘founding fathers’ (e.g. Raymond Williams, Richard Hoggart and Stuart Hall); and it has been very successful as an international academic educational programme. On the other hand, ‘cultural studies’ may have greater trouble proving its political/societal utility, and it is rather uncertain whether its great educational popularity will last in the future (cf. O’Regan 1992; Bennett 1998)9. Nursing studies, on the other hand, has few problems proving its political/societal utility. It has also undergone a distinct academisation process, primarily promoted by the nursing profession (i.e. unions). For different reasons, nursing studies has experienced some difficulties in being accepted as a genuine academic research field: It is traditionally a feminised handicraft, subordinate to the well-established medical academic discipline. Nursing studies seems partly to have ‘imitated’ medicine (e.g. experimental empirical studies), and partly to be inspired by qualitative social science/humanistic theories, in its efforts to be recognised as a legitimate academic discipline.10

The academic institutionalisation of cultural policy research from the 1990s onwards did not of course embrace all researchers or all research activities in cultural policy in every country. Important researchers, institutions and activities with looser connections to the academic world (e.g. ERICarts and Compendium11) continued to develop. There is also certainly considerable overlap between different research communities in the field (e.g. between applied government-dependent and more academic research).

The purpose of this paper, however, is to describe and study the specific academic institutionalisation of cultural policy research from the 1990s onwards in more detail than in my previous articles (Mangset 2010 and 201512). I believe that the concrete organisational aspects of this process have been particularly important for the development of the research field. Before the 1990s, international meeting places and organisations for cultural policy research were often rather unsystematically planned and organised13. Over the last three decades, however, this research field has gradually become more formally established in international academic institutions.

In this study, I will focus in particular on the establishment of research journals and research conferences – both organised according to academic peer review principles – as significant expressions of the academic institutionalisation process. I will especially focus on the development of the Nordic cultural policy research community (i.e. primarily research/researchers in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland). Nordic researchers have contributed substantially to the creation of an international academic research community in this field of research. Thus, I pay special attention to the Nordic contributions to the international academisation process in this paper, without forgetting the general international/global context and development. My presentation will, therefore, have a certain Nordic and anglophone bias. This may also imply that I underestimate contributions to international cultural policy research from other countries and regions, i.e. in particular by scholars in Eastern European and Latin countries (especially France, Spain and Italy).14

My primary intention with this paper is to present a historical overview of the academisation process, not to offer a specific sociological analysis. I will also focus more on the organisational aspects of the process than on the academic and theoretical content/profile of the research. Finally, I assume that the introduction of selection through “peer review” has been a precondition for the academisation process.

Peer review

“’Excellence’ is the holy grail of academic life,” Michèle Lamont writes in the introductory chapter of “How Professors Think” (2009:1). She continues:

The Latin Word academia refers to a community dedicated to higher learning. At its center are colleagues who are defined as ‘peers’ or ‘equals’ and whose opinions shape shared definitions of quality. In the omnipresent academic evaluation system known as peer review, peers pass judgement, usually confidentially, on the quality of the work of other community members. Thus they determine the allocation of scarce resources, whether these be prestige and honors, fellowships or grants to support research, tenured positions that provide identifiable status and job security, or access for high-status publications. Peers monitor the flow of people and ideas through the various gates of the academic community. But because academia is not democratic, some peers are given more of a voice than others and serve as gatekeepers more often than others. Still, different people guard different gates, so gatekeepers are themselves subject to evaluation at various times (Lamont 2009:2).

Thus, I think it is appropriate to focus on the establishment of arenas with peer review, e.g. research conferences and research journals, when studying the academic institutionalisation of cultural policy research. During the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, this kind of research occupied a very small and somewhat isolated body of researchers. From the 1990s onwards, the number of active cultural policy researchers, and the public interest in/demand for this kind of research, increased considerably, both in the Nordic countries and several others. Since then, many young recruits have also taken Ph.D. degrees within this field of research. It may be that cultural policy research activities (number of active researchers, number of projects) had to reach a certain ‘critical mass’ (including applied projects) before the academisation process (and the introduction of ‘peer review’) could start.

The focus on cultural policy research activities has certainly differed greatly between countries and continents in recent decades, more or less reflecting how public cultural policies have developed differently in different countries. In some countries, e.g. France, there have also been substantial cultural policy research activities, although French researchers do not participate very actively in such international academic research arenas (conferences, journals) (e.g. Poirrier 2011; Dubois 2010). It is probably fair to say that British, Nordic, Canadian and Oceanian (Australian and New Zealander) researchers have been the most active in this academic institutionalisation process internationally (e.g. establishment of peer review journals, research conferences and research-based academic education programmes). Anglophone journals and conferences dominate international cooperation in cultural policy research. This may be the reason why French-, Spanish- and Italian-speaking researchers do not participate very actively in these research arenas. On the other hand, researchers from several Asian countries (e.g. Japan and South Korea) and from all the Nordic countries contribute actively (in English) to research conferences and referee journals. The Nordic research communities (in particular Norwegian, Swedish, Danish and Finnish researchers) have certainly played a significant role in the international academic institutionalisation of cultural policy research since the 1990s.

Cultural policy research

In general, ‘cultural policy research’ is not a very distinct research field, although it may appear more distinct today than it did three or four decades ago. (1) First, it is a very small research field within the academic world as a whole. (2) Moreover, it is multidisciplinary, embracing both social scientists (e.g. sociologists, political scientists, economists and social anthropologists) and several humanistic research disciplines (e.g. historians, literary historians and musicologists). This multidisciplinarity may play a part in diluting the common professional identity of cultural policy researchers. (3) It is also somewhat difficult to draw distinct boundaries between cultural policy research and several neighbouring research fields, such as cultural sociology, cultural economics, media studies, cultural history and arts management. These latter research fields tend, rather, to overlap with cultural policy research. (4) Cultural policy research lacks a specific theoretical canon (Frenander 2008; Mangset 2010).15 It is scarcely possible to mention a limited number of ‘canonical texts’, ‘theoretical heroes’ and/or ‘founding fathers/mothers’ that unite most cultural policy researchers internationally.16 Researchers in this field also frequently refer to theoretical inspirations who probably do not/did not consider themselves primarily as cultural policy researchers (e.g. Pierre Bourdieu, Jürgen Habermas, Tony Bennett, Pierre-Michel Menger, Howard S. Becker and Michèle Lamont). 5) Finally, it is possible that the general academic centrality of many of those scholars whom cultural policy researchers use to refer to has also contributed to the academisation process: The above-mentioned leading researchers were/are certainly not primarily applied researchers, but instead important academic scholars!

Different researchers, politicians and bureaucrats might define ‘cultural policy research’ somewhat differently. Røyseng (2014:4-8) has pointed out four main categorical definitions of cultural policy (and subsequently of cultural policy research) depending on different combinations of 1) a wide or narrow definition of ‘culture’, and of 2) a wide or narrow definition of ‘policy’. Thus, some researchers and many politicians and bureaucrats would conceive ‘cultural policy’ and ‘cultural policy research’ in a rather narrow way, primarily as “decisions about cultural cases within the formal, public decision arenas” (ibid., p. 5). Others would instead use a wider policy concept and study all the power and authority relationships within the (formal) cultural sector. Others again would instead combine a wider culture concept with a narrower policy concept. All in all, the academisation of cultural policy research has, in practice, been rather inclusive and accepted several, quite different conceptions of the research field.

Today, one may distinguish between several, more or less separate, research communities in the international field of cultural policy research. Cultural policy research has developed in different directions due to different historical origins and national contexts. Internationally, I would propose drawing a distinction between three different kinds of ‘research community’: (1) applied research/consultancy, carried through by applied research institutes/think tanks/applied research centres/consultancy firms17; (2) governmental (national) research centres18 and public/semi-public international research units (e.g. ERICarts and Compendium); and (3) academic research, primarily in independent institutes, universities and university colleges (e.g. Jyväskylä, Warwick)19.

The boundaries between these three kinds of research communities are certainly not very distinct. They tend to overlap: (1) Applied researchers naturally depend very much on the market, i.e. most often on commissions and requirements from public authorities as funders. Therefore, they may tend to adapt their perspectives and results excessively to such commissions and requirements. However, many predominantly applied researchers would also participate in academic research conferences and publish in referee journals. They may also be very devoted to academic values, standards and ambitions, despite their dependence on the market. (2) There is no doubt that cultural policy researchers within governmental or international public research institutions (e.g. ministries, arts councils, Unesco) are usually quite dependent on their superiors, at least in their choice of research topics. This dependence may restrict their perspectives and conclusions. There is a fairly general impression that such ‘public research’ is often less critical and more influenced by public cultural policy rhetoric than much other cultural policy research. However, there are many exceptions to this: Several very prominent French academic researchers, for instance, have contributed to the research division of the French Ministry of Culture (e.g. Pierre Bourdieu (1930-2002), Raymonde Moulin (1924-2019) and Pierre-Michel Menger (b. 1953)) (MC 1993), all of whom of course produce, or produced, high-quality autonomous research. (3) Finally, we would expect cultural policy researchers in universities, university colleges and autonomous research institutes to be more devoted to academic values and standards than other cultural policy researchers, i.e. that they would produce more independent/critical research, compete for funding from academic research councils, attend and present papers at research conferences, and publish their research in referee journals and/or prestigious academic book series. This is certainly also largely the case. However, in a small research field with limited research funding, such as cultural policy research, even university researchers may be happy to conduct applied research and consultancy ordered and funded by public authorities. Thus, their access to research funding may also depend very much on the market. Some university researchers even ignore or avoid academic referee systems and choose instead to publish in insignificant journals, or not to publish at all.

I still think that this division into three different ‘research communities’ with different infrastructures and value systems will be recognisable to many cultural policy researchers, at least as tendencies or ‘poles’ in a value system. I also think that there is a certain mistrust – if not a conflict – between several stakeholders in the three different communities. It is also worth questioning whether these three research communities represent different stages in a historical development of the research field in general: Public authorities (ministries, Unesco, Council of Europe) and some international civil servants/research administrators (e.g. Augustin Girard20, Carl-Johan Kleberg21, Ritva Mitchell22, Rod Fisher23 and Andreas Wiesand24) promoted public and semi-public cultural policy research from the 1960s until the beginning of the 21th century. This kind of research is still predominant, at least from the point of view of politicians and bureaucrats. A new, more academic stage of research developed from the 1990s onwards, however, with research conferences, referee journals and academic research programmes. This has partly replaced the previous public and semi-public research.25 The relatively autonomous academic research communities are certainly stronger – and more developed – in some countries, while more governmental or market-dependent research institutions are stronger in others. Finally, it is worth questioning whether these three presumably distinct research communities are now about to merge. It is in any case a fact that individual researchers – more or less by necessity – frequently switch between them.

Sources and methodological limitations

I base the analysis in this paper on a substantial number of written documents, i.e. (1) a collection of every issue of the European/International Journal of Cultural Policy (IJCP) from its launch in 1994 until 201926; (2) a collection of every issue of the Nordic Journal of Cultural Policy (NCP) from the start in 1998 until 201927; (3) an informal/personal workplace archive at Telemark University College (TUC)28, covering the establishment and management of the Norwegian – and subsequently Nordic – Conference on Cultural Policy Research from 1993 to 2000; (4) an informal (personal) workplace archive at TUC from the establishment and management of the International Conference on Cultural Policy Research (ICCPR) from 1999 to 2012; (5) several public and semi-public documents on cultural policy research (see references and footnotes); and (6) my personal recollections of the Nordic and international events and developments connected to the academic institutionalisation process.

In so far as I have myself been an active agent and stakeholder in this process29, my recollections and descriptions of processes and events may of course be biased. A personal and somewhat subjective perspective on the development is inevitable. On the other hand, I have substantial experience from the process – and probably better archives than anyone else. I have also tried to correct my recollections with the help of a) substantial documentary material and b) information from colleagues who have participated in the same processes.


It may be difficult to identify which agents and/or institutions have most influenced the academic institutionalisation of cultural policy research, primarily because several different agents and institutions have contributed to the process. It is also obvious that the academic institutionalisation of cultural policy research was not, and is not, a unilinear academic process. In the Nordic countries, at least, civil servants in ministries of culture and arts councils, representatives of national research councils, academic institutions and individual researchers have all played significant roles. Those who first tried to develop cultural policy as a new research field did not make a particular distinction between applied and basic research, however. In the early 1990s, two Nordic civil servants, Johannes Aanderaa (1927–91)30 (Norway) and Carl-Johan Kleberg (Sweden), acting on behalf of their ministries/arts councils, established a ‘contact group’ between Nordic cultural bureaucrats and cultural policy researchers in order to promote relevant research, i.e. applied research. In addition, the Swedish, Finnish and Norwegian arts councils all established some kind of research division within their councils during the 1980s and/or 1990s, primarily of course because they would promote applied research for their own institutional purposes. On the other hand, in the 1980s and 1990s, national research councils, e.g. the Research Council of Norway, established general programmes for ‘cultural research’, which could also benefit ‘cultural policy research’ (Mangset 1993; Holst 2008; Enebakk 2015). The research councils, of course, primarily supported basic/academic research (e.g. Geir Vestheim’s Ph.D. project, Vestheim 1997). All in all, the processes that promoted basic and applied cultural policy research in the Nordic countries were very much intertwined. It is nevertheless possible to identify a specific academic institutionalisation process in this research field from the 1990s onwards, particularly connected to peer review evaluations and academic ambitions.

Compared with other emerging research fields, the general growth of research activities in this field was primarily driven by demand from a public market, e.g. from ministries’ and arts councils’ needs for research and evaluations. Thus, public authorities in several countries have established applied research divisions in arts councils and/or centres to promote cultural industries31. On the other hand, several attempts have been made – without much success – to influence public authorities to institutionalise cultural policy research as a primarily academic research field (Bjørkås et al. 2003; Grund 2012). However, it was rather the academic scholars themselves – without much support from public authorities – who promoted the academisation process from the 1990s onwards. Neither was there any significant support from professions in the cultural field (artists, cultural managers) for the academic institutionalisation of cultural policy research.

Peer review journals

At present (2019), there are a small number of international peer review journals that are specifically dedicated to cultural policy research, i.e.: The International Journal of Cultural Policy (IJCP)32 (established 1994/1997); the Journal of Arts Management, Law and Society33 (established in 1992, previously known as “the Journal of Arts Management and Law” (1982-92) and as “Performing Arts Review” (1969-81)); and Cultural Trends34 (established in 1989, but first appeared as an academic peer review journal a few years later). All three journals are published in English. The IJCP is edited from the UK (the University of Warwick), but has an extensive international editorial board (2018). The Journal of Arts Management, Law and Society is US based, but also has editorial board members from Germany, Australia and Canada. Cultural Trends is UK based, but has an international editorial board, with members from e.g. Finland, Australia and the US alongside several British board members. Overall, these three journals emerge as primarily anglophone journals, although with quite wide international connections and affiliations.

There are certainly several other international referee journals that publish cultural policy research papers, without having this research field as their primary focus, i.e. several arts management, cultural industry and cultural economics/economy journals. Cultural policy researchers also publish in journals relating to a more specific cultural field (e.g. journals about museum studies, drama/theatre studies and/or musicology studies), and in more general social science, cultural studies, media studies and/or cultural history journals. There are also some more ‘regional’ cultural policy journals, i.e. journals that publish papers from a delimited geographical area in a language/languages with a limited range. The Nordic Journal of Cultural Policy (1998), for instance, primarily publishes papers by Nordic researchers, in Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, or, more recently, in English35.

As far as I can see, the establishment and development of the International Journal of Cultural Policy (IJCP) since 1994 has been particularly important for the academic institutionalisation of cultural policy research internationally. This journal was first founded in 1994 as “the European Journal of Cultural Policy”, by Professor Oliver Bennett at the University of Warwick. A year earlier (1993), Bennett had started an MA programme in European Cultural Policy and Management at the University of Warwick and, some years later (1999), he established a Centre for Cultural Policy Studies at the same university. Since then, the University of Warwick has established itself as a centre or ‘node’ for academic cultural policy research internationally. The journal, which changed its name to “the International Journal of Cultural Policy” (IJCP) in 1997, aimed from the outset to become a leading international academic peer review journal. The editorial board of the first issues consisted of researchers from Germany, Spain, Serbia, France, the UK, Ireland, Hungary, Finland, Norway, the US, the Netherlands and Austria. Later, the board was supplemented by members from Australia, New Zealand and Denmark. The journal is, and has always been, open to both theoretical and empirical contributions from several academic disciplines, e.g. sociology, economy, literary studies, history and media studies. The ‘Aims and Scope’ of the IJCP (2019) state that it is:

a peer reviewed journal that provides an outlet for an interdisciplinary and international exploration of the meaning, function and impact of cultural policies. Cultural policy is understood as the promotion or prohibition of cultural practices and values by governments, corporations, other institutions and individuals.

Such policies may be explicit, in that their objectives are openly described as cultural, or implicit, in that their cultural objectives are concealed or described in other terms. The historical range is not limited to any given period, but the Journal is primarily concerned with material that is relevant to the contemporary world and which contributes to a fruitful international exchange of ideas.

The Journal acknowledges the multiplicity of meanings around the idea of culture and the inter-relationship of these meanings. However, whilst it takes a broad view of culture, encompassing a wide range of signifying practices that include the products of the media, the arts and various forms of government or religious display, the Journal will attempt to maintain a focus on policies relating to culture as symbolic communication rather than to culture in the anthropological sense as ‘a whole way of life.’36

This confirms the broad, multidisciplinary character of the journal, while it maintains that it should focus on ‘cultural policy’ and not on more general cultural studies or sociology of culture.

Since its launch in 1994, the IJCP has published many thematic special issues, e.g. Cultural analysis and cultural policy (4/2, 1998, McGuigan), French and German cultural policy (9/2, 2003, Ahearne), Intellectuals and cultural policy (12/2, 2006, Ahearne/Bennett), Nordic cultural policy (14/1, Mangset/Kangas/Skot-Hansen/Vestheim), Implicit cultural policies (15/2, 2009, Ahearne/Bennett), Cultural policy review of books (16/1, 2010, Bennett), Creativity and cultural policy (16/3, 2010, Bilton), Cultural policy and democracy (18/2, 2012, Vestheim) and Cultural Policies for Sustainable Development (23/2, 2017, Kangas/Duxbury/Beukelaer).

Since 1999, the IJCP has established a close cooperation with the biennial International Conference on Cultural Policy Research (ICCPR) (more later). After the first conferences, (1999, 2002, 2004 and 2006), the IJCP published specific ‘conference issues’ with selections of papers from the conferences. The cooperation between the IJCP and the ICCPR continued, but the journal stopped publishing specific conference issues after 200637. The IJCP is now probably the most important and prestigious international academic peer review journal in this field. Professor Bennett has been the editor of the journal since it started in 1994 and continues in this position, even as a professor emeritus.

The Nordic Journal of Cultural Policy (Nordisk kulturpolitisk tidsskrift) (NJCP) was established as a general peer review journal for cultural policy research by the University College of Borås38, Sweden, in 1998. The NJCP replaced a previous library research/debate journal (Kulturpolitisk tidsskrift (Journal of Cultural Policy)), published by the library department at the University College of Borås. This journal had traditionally been dedicated to library studies, but its dynamic editor (and head of library studies in the 1990s), Romulo Enmark, tried to widen the scope of the journal and the Borås research community to embrace more general cultural policy studies. The College had established a Centre for Cultural Policy Research and Debate in 1996. It also recruited the Norwegian cultural policy researcher Geir Vestheim as head of the Centre and subsequently as professor of cultural policy. The ambition to transform the previous library journal (the Journal of Cultural Policy) into a peer review journal for general cultural policy research was clear as early as issue 2/1996. This issue published several papers from a Nordic seminar in Borås in 1996 concerning the need for general cultural policy research (e.g. Johannisson 1996). Several Nordic pioneers in the research field contributed papers at the conference and to the journal. Two years later (1998), the Nordic Journal of Cultural Policy (Nordisk kulturpolitisk tidsskrift) was launched as a peer review journal for general cultural policy research, with Geir Vestheim as its first editor. Subsequently, editing of the journal has rotated among the Nordic countries, i.e. Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland. The responsible publisher of the journal is still the University of Borås (2019). Since 1998, this journal has been established as the primary publication channel for Nordic (and occasionally international) cultural policy research. Since 2003, the journal has also cooperated closely with the biennial Nordic Conference on Cultural Policy Research (see later).

Research conferences


A great number of conferences and seminars on cultural policy and cultural policy research have been organised in many countries since the 1960s and 1970s, often by public cultural policy authorities. Many researchers – with and without research-based knowledge of cultural policy – have been invited to speak at such conferences. From 1993 and in the years following, however, Norwegian cultural policy researchers launched a series of academic research conferences in this field, sponsored by the Research Council of Norway (Bjørkås/Mangset 1996; Mangset 1996). As far as I know, such systematic research conferences, based on classic academic organisational principles, had not been organised in this research field before. By ‘classic academic organisational principles’, I mean conferences with 1) a limited number of keynote speakers, 2) several paper presentations in sessions, based on abstracts selected in advance through a peer review process, and 3) well-prepared discussants for each paper. This form of organisation introduced the strict scientific and selective principles of peer review into this research field. A group of Norwegian cultural policy researchers, namely Georg Arnestad of Sogn & Fjordane Regional College, Svein Bjørkås39 of Telemark Research Institute/Vestfold Regional College and Per Mangset of Telemark Research Institute/Telemark University College, initiated and organised these conferences, which took place each year from 1993 to 2000 (except in 1997 and 199940) at different Norwegian locations, i.e. at Sundvolden in 1993 and 1994, Sandefjord in 1995, 1996 and 1998, and Bø in 200041. Each conference lasted two days. The conferences were attended by both established and younger researchers, including some master’s students. Around 30 researchers presented papers at each conference, while 60-70 persons (not all researchers) attended each conference. From the beginning, this was a uniquely national (Norwegian) conference, but gradually some other Nordic researchers started attending – especially at the 2000 conference in Bø. This ‘Nordic’ conference in 2000 represented a significant step in creating a Nordic research community for cultural policy. All in all, these Norwegian conferences may be considered as ‘training grounds’ for later Nordic and international conferences (NCCPR and ICCPR). Over the same period – i.e. for the 10-15 years following 1993 – the Research Council of Norway supported several cultural policy projects through its cultural research programmes (Holst 2008; Enebakk 2015).

In 1996, the Danish cultural policy researcher Peter Duelund – in cooperation with a group of Nordic colleagues – took another important initiative to promote Nordic cultural policy research42. The project ‘Nordic cultural policy in transition’ was financed by the Nordic Cultural Fund, the Danish and the Norwegian Ministries of Culture, and the Finnish and Swedish arts councils.43 Around 60 (mainly Nordic) researchers contributed to the project, which ran from 1998 to 2003. It resulted in several reports, articles and a huge final book (601 pages) – edited by Duelund (2003). The book contained chapters on the cultural policies of all the Nordic countries (i.e. Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Iceland), including a specific chapter on “the small nations of Norden” (i.e. Greenland, the Faeroe Islands, Åland and the Saami regions) (ibid., pp. 415-436). The project also organised a series of Nordic research conferences, i.e. in Oslo (2002) and Stockholm, Reykjavik, Torshamn, Helsinki and Copenhagen (all in 2003). Moreover, several articles from the project were published in international and Nordic review journals (e.g. Duelund 1999, 2001; Sirnes 2001). This project, the research conferences and the ensuing publications certainly contributed substantially to creating and consolidating a Nordic ‘research community’ of cultural policy researchers. However, it was more closely connected to public cultural policy interests – and somewhat less to academic peer evaluation principles – than the subsequent Nordic and international conferences and journals in the field of cultural policy research (NCCPR, NJCPR, ICCPR and IJCP).


The idea of organising a new and wider international research conference – based on the above-mentioned peer review principles – was developed informally by two Nordic cultural policy researchers – Dorte Skot Hansen44 and myself (Per Mangset) – during an international conference on cultural management organised by AIMAC45 in San Francisco in 1997. We had also attended another AIMAC conference in London in 1995, and we thought that there was a need for a new international conference that 1) focused more specifically on cultural policy (not primarily on arts management), 2) was organised according to strict academic principles (selection based on peer review) with paper presentations and discussants, and 3) was better planned and organised. I (Mangset) applied to the Research Council of Norway for support to organise such a conference, initially in Norway in 199946. The Research Council of Norway supported the application and allocated funds for organising such a conference, as a ‘practical’ part of a research project into Norwegian artist policy. Establishing a broad international network – i.e. an international scientific committee – behind the conference was vital to the success of the initiative. The International Journal of Cultural Policy had already developed a broad international network of this nature, formalised in an Editorial Board. I had been a member of the board since 1994, and another significant Nordic cultural policy researcher, Geir Vestheim, joined the board in 1997. Bennett (editor) and Mangset (board member) had also tested their capacity for cooperation in an ERASMUS network of European cultural administration training centres47 in the early1990s. Thus, we managed to establish a permanent cooperation between the conference (ICCPR) and the journal (IJCP) from 1999.

By that time, the Research Council of Norway had established a Centre for Cultural Research48 at the University of Bergen, Norway. One of the previous organisers of the Norwegian research conferences (see above), Svein Bjørkås, was now director of the centre. The Centre agreed to organise this first ICCPR conference in Bergen and supplemented the budget with additional resources (funds and personnel).

The primary and enduring principles for organising the ICCPR conferences were already established before and during this first conference, i.e.:

  1. ICCPR built (and continues to build) on a close cooperation between a) a superior and almost permanent49 Scientific Committee (SC) and b) a ‘local’ organisation committee, appointed for each biennial event.

  2. The international scientific committee (SC) claimed (claims) the professional authority and ‘ownership’ of the conference, primarily of course because it had initiated the whole event. The SC monitored (monitors) the organisation and the academic quality of the conference, e.g. by monitoring the review process (abstracts) and selecting keynote speakers and discussants, in cooperation with the local organiser. The SC itself also appointed (appoints) potential new members of its committee; there was (is) no democratic appointment procedure from e.g. a member organisation to the SC. From the beginning, the SC tried, of course, to establish a committee that was broad and representative of the scholarly academic research communities around the world as a whole. In practice, it became rather Western biased, however, with a particularly strong link between British and Nordic cultural policy researchers50. The members of the first SC were: Oliver Bennett, University of Warwick, UK/editor of the IJCP; Peter Bendixen, Hochschule für Wirtschaft und Politik, Hamburg, Germany; Jennifer Craik, Key Centre for Culture and Media Policy, Griffith University, Australia; Peter Duelund, University of Copenhagen, Denmark; Vera Zolberg, New School for Social Research, New York, US; and Per Mangset, Telemark University College, Norway (head of SC).51 Many SC members stayed in their positions for several years, but the committee was gradually supplemented by members from e.g. Spain, France, Sweden, Turkey and Canada, while some other members resigned. The SC had (and has) no specific financial basis of its own. All SC members/member institutions covered (cover) their own expenses, e.g. travel expenses to the conferences or to preparatory meetings. Most of the planning process before conferences took (takes) place via e-mail (e.g. review and selection of abstracts), but the SC tried (tries) to meet personally with the local organiser at least once or twice in the run-up to the conference.

  3. The SC selected (selects) the local organiser of the conference. Before the first conference in 1999, a benevolent local ‘Centre for cultural research’ at the University of Bergen chose to contribute both additional funds and personnel/labour force to realise this relatively ambitious conference plan. Ahead of subsequent conferences, the SC has invited international research institutions (normally universities with some active cultural policy researchers) to participate in a bidding process in order to select the most appropriate candidate to organise the next conference. The SC members voted (vote) on candidates/bids to organise the next event.52 The local organiser who was selected had (has) to take full financial responsibility for the event. The SC monitored (monitors) that the local organiser respects and fulfils the organisational and academic principles of the conference.

  4. Right from the start in 1999, it was made clear that the International Journal of Cultural Policy (IJCP) should be a co-organiser of the conference. The cooperation with IJCP, both from the beginning and later, was a vital precondition for the international academic legitimacy of the ICCPR. The first ‘Call for papers’ also promised that a “selection of papers presented at the conference will, subject to the normal review procedures, be published in a special issue of the International Journal of Cultural Policy”53. However, IJCP has not published specific conference issues since 2006, although it has published many single conference papers as articles after ordinary review processes.

  5. The main academic profile of the conference was established right from the beginning in 1999. The ‘Call for papers’ then declared that the “conference aims to provide an outlet for an interdisciplinary and international exploration of the concepts, function and impact of cultural policies. It will reflect a broad view of cultural policy, encompassing culture as a ‘way of life’ as well as culture in the narrower sense of the arts and the cultural industries. It will be concerned both with the policies of institutions and with the wider discourses which relate to the general conditions of culture”54. In this statement, the ICCPR set out a) its multidisciplinary character, and established that the conference should dedicate itself b) to cultural policy research in a wide sense, but not more generally to ‘cultural studies’ or ‘sociology of culture’. In practice, however, this statement neither excluded (or excludes) cultural studies papers about cultural policy, arts administration papers that were (are) policy relevant, nor cultural economics papers that were (are) interesting from a policy perspective. This statement of the purpose of the ICCPR has only been altered slightly subsequently. Today, the formal ‘aims’ of the Conference (ICCPR) and the Journal (IJCP) are virtually identical.55

  6. From the beginning, the conference addressed itself “primarily to active researchers, who will present papers on their research about cultural policy for academic discussion”. Postgraduate students were also invited to present papers. The conference would “welcome theoretical papers, papers presenting empirical findings, and papers with information on research in progress”.56 This implied (and implies) that the conference did not (does not) address itself to cultural field practitioners or cultural politicians.

  7. The first conference planned to combine a) a limited number of plenary sessions, featuring a couple of keynote lectures from international scholars in the field of cultural research and cultural policy research, with b) parallel sessions with paper presentations.57 The SC insisted on quite tight organisation of the conference, allocating a specific, limited amount of time to each presentation (20 min.) and discussion (15 + 10 min.). The SC was also very eager to maintain the academic autonomy of the conference. Thus, the SC was, from the outset, very reluctant to accept interventions from organisations or businesses that wanted to ‘use’ the conference to promote their own professional, political or commercial interests.

  8. It was decided from the beginning that the conference language should be English.58 This, of course, played a part in limiting the potential participation of many non-English-speaking countries. At the ICCPR in Barcelona in 2012, some – not entirely successful – efforts were made to organise special sessions in Spanish. But all in all, the ICCPR is an anglophone conference.

  9. From the beginning in 1999, it was planned that the ICCPR should be a biennial event. The second ICCPR, however, was organised a little more than two years later, i.e. in January 2002, in Wellington, New Zealand. Since then, the conference has been organised every second year.

Nine ICCPR conferences have been organised in several countries around the world from 1999 to 2018, every second year from 2002: (1) Around 140 researchers from 17 countries attended the first ICCPR in Bergen, in November 1999. Keynote speakers from Norway, the US, the UK and Italy contributed. 60 papers (chosen from 110 abstracts submitted) were presented. A selection of papers was subsequently published in the International Journal of Cultural Policy. The 1999 conference served as an initial trial of a new, international conference concept. (2) A little over two years later, i.e. in January 2002, the second ICCPR was organised by Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand. The conference had now found a more appropriate size and form, setting the pattern for most subsequent ICCPR conferences. In all, 192 researchers attended the Wellington conference and more than 100 papers were presented. A selection of papers was subsequently published in the International Journal of Cultural Policy.59 (3) The third ICCPR was organised by the Carmelle and Rémi Marcoux Chair in Arts Management, HEC Montréal, Canada, in 2004. Participation was more modest than in Wellington. (4) The Fourth ICCPR took place in Vienna, Austria, in July 2006. The local organiser was EDUCULT, an Austrian institute for cultural policy and cultural management. About 400 researchers from 52 countries attended the Vienna conference and 195 papers were presented. A selection of papers was subsequently published in the IJCP. (5) The fifth ICCPR took place in Istanbul, Turkey, in August 2008, organised by Yeditepe University. About 250 researchers from more than 40 countries attended the Istanbul conference and 110 papers were presented. (6) The sixth ICCPR took place in Jyväskylä, Finland, in August 2010. After the bidding process, it had been decided that the University of Canberra, Australia, should organise the sixth ICCPR60, but they had to withdraw from organising the event, primarily for financial reasons. The University of Jyväskylä took over the task at quite short notice and successfully organised the Jyväskylä conference61. About 250 researchers attended the event and 170 papers were presented. (7) The seventh conference – ICCPR 2012 – took place in Barcelona, Spain, in July 2012. It was organised by the University of Barcelona. About 300 researchers from 44 countries attended the conference, including more delegates from Southern Europe and South America than at previous conferences. (8) The eighth conference – ICCPR 2014 – took place in Hildesheim, Germany, in September 2014 and was organised by the University of Hildesheim. About 400 academics representing over 60 countries, including previously under-represented regions such as the Middle East and Africa, shared their research on a wide spectrum of issues pertaining to cultural policy. (9) The ninth ICCPR was the first to take place in Asia, being hosted by Sookmyung Women’s University in Seoul, South Korea, on 5-9 July 2016. ICCPR 2016 offered over 15 panel discussions (roundtables, focus and thematic sessions) and over 150 presentations. The conference was attended by more than 300 researchers. There is no doubt that holding ICCPR 2016 in Asia stimulated cultural policy research in several Asian countries. (10) The tenth ICCPR was organised by Tallinn University, Estonia, in August 2018. At the end of the Tallinn conference, it was announced that the next conference – the eleventh ICCPR – would take place in Kyoto, Japan, in 2020.

After 20 years of ICCPR conferences, one can summarise several general experiences: (1) The organisational concept has been relatively stable, with a limited number of keynote speakers and many paper sessions with presenters and discussants following quite strict review processes. Plenary keynote sessions and selective paper sessions have, more or less successfully, alternated with middle-size thematic panel discussions. (2) The Scientific Committee has retained full control of the organisational and scientific principles of the conferences. (3) The members of the SC have been relatively stable (although a joint method has been established for alternating SC members). The first head of the SC (Mangset) served in this position from 1999 to 2012. The second head (Jenny Johannisson, University of Borås, Sweden) initially worked alongside Mangset for a couple of years before becoming head of the SC from 2012 to 2020. The editor of the IJCP (Oliver Bennett) has been a member of the SC from the beginning in 1999 to date (2019). Thus, he has helped to safeguard the cooperation with the IJCP and the academic legitimacy of the conference. The cooperation – or co-ownership – between the ICCPR and the IJCP has been of vital importance to the continuing success of the conference. (4) The ICCPR conferences have recruited many researchers from the UK, the Nordic countries, Oceania and Asia. Several North American researchers have also participated at conferences and published in the IJCP. On the other hand, fewer researchers from Eastern Europe and South America, and very few from Africa, have attended the conferences to date (2019). (6) The organisation of the conference can constitute a substantial financial and organisational challenge and burden for each local organiser. Therefore, the SC has received only a limited number of bids before each conference (often two or three ‘serious’ bids). On the other hand, it seems that several potential organisers view this challenge as an opportunity to stimulate cultural policy research locally and that they value the academic prestige that such an event may bring.


The first Nordic Conference on Cultural Policy Research (NCCPR) was organised by Aarhus University, Denmark, in 2003. It was initiated by the Danish-Norwegian researcher Anne Marit Waade62 in cooperation with several other Nordic cultural policy researchers. NCCPR is – in a way – a copy or a ‘little brother’ of the above-mentioned international conference (ICCPR). Nordic cultural policy researchers wanted to organise a biennial Nordic conference those years when the international conference did not take place, i.e. in 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, and so on. These Nordic conferences were also a kind of formalised follow-up of the above-mentioned earlier Nordic cultural policy conferences in the 1990s/early 2000s (i.e. the Norwegian cultural policy conferences during the 1990s and the Nordic conferences related to the project ‘Nordic cultural policy in transition’ in 2002-2003). The Nordic conference (NCCPR) was (and is) organised mainly according to the same principles as the ICCPR. This implies that (1) it cooperates closely with the Nordic cultural policy research journal (NJCP); (2) it is organised according to classical academic peer review principles (selection of abstracts, presentation of papers in sessions, oppositions from discussants, etc.); and (3) a few keynote speakers are invited to speak at each conference. The NCCPR is also – primarily – an academic conference, in the sense that researchers, not cultural politicians or cultural administrators, are invited to attend the conferences. Several delegates are recruited from universities and university colleges, others rather from applied research institutions. The NCCPR primarily gathers cultural policy researchers from the ‘traditional’ Nordic countries, i.e. Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Iceland. However, researchers from the Baltic countries have also – to a certain degree – participated at these conferences. The conference even occasionally attracts researchers with interests in Nordic cultural policy from other countries (e.g. Poland, the US). The Nordic conference (NCCPR) and the Nordic journal (NJCP) invite scholars to present papers and/or to submit articles written in a Nordic language (Swedish, Danish or Norwegian) or in English. Nordic scholars may have some difficulties understanding the other Nordic languages (especially orally), however, and several Nordic colleagues therefore tend to prefer English as the conference lingua franca. A Nordic scientific committee – in cooperation with the appointed local organisation committee – is responsible for the organisation of the event. Many articles – based on papers presented at the Nordic conferences – have subsequently been published in the NJCP, some also in other referee journals, but the NJCP has never – unlike the IJCP – published special ‘conference issues’. Each Nordic conference, of course, has recruited fewer delegates than the international conferences. From the 1990s onwards however, the Nordic cultural policy research community has been quite vital – and recruited quite a large number of Nordic researchers. More than 100 papers were presented at the sixth NCCPR in Copenhagen in 2013, for instance63.

The first NCCPR was (as mentioned above) organised by Aarhus University, Denmark, in 2003. The second NCCPR was organised by the University College of Borås, Sweden, in 2005, and the third conference by Telemark University College and Telemark Research Institute in Bø, Norway, in 2007. The fourth NCCPR was organised by the University of Jyväskylä, Finland, in 2009 and the fifth by Linköping University in Norrköping, Sweden, in 2011. The sixth NCCPR was organised by Copenhagen Business School, Denmark, in 2013 and the seventh was again organised by Telemark University College and Telemark Research Institute in Bø, Norway, in 2015. The eighth NCCPR was organised by Cupore and the University of Jyväskylä, in Helsinki, Finland, in 2017, while the ninth took place at Bifröst University, Iceland, in August 2019.

Discussion and conclusions

Since the 1990s, international cultural policy research, at least from a Nordic and anglophone perspective, has undergone a period of academic institutionalisation, characterised by increasing emphasis on peer evaluation (e.g. publication in review journals, establishment of academic research conferences, increasing number of Ph.D. students/candidates, recruitment of university scholars through peer review, allocation of support to research from research councils (through peer review)). This has also implied an increasing differentiation between cultural policy research communities, i.e. between applied research/consultancy, governmental research and academic/university research.

But will this academisation process – and the differentiation between research communities – continue? Cultural policy research is still a relatively small and weak field of research, associated with a small and weak (in a political and economic sense) social sector. We do not perceive any real academic breakthrough for cultural policy research in any country. From an academic point of view, it seems to persist as a rather insignificant research activity. So perhaps the different research communities in the cultural policy field need to unite in order to survive in the future?

I have sought in this paper to provide a historical account of cultural policy research, from a Nordic perspective, with a particular focus on the academisation process since the 1990s. I suppose that other international researchers in this field might wish to tell other, somewhat different stories. Therefore, I would be happy if my intervention were to inspire other cultural policy researchers to contribute supplementary accounts of the history of cultural policy research, for instance from an Eastern European, French and/or Middle Eastern point of view.

Thanks to Geir Vestheim, Anita Kangas and Jenny Johannisson for their valuable comments and contributions to a draft of this paper.


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1The University of Jyväskylä, the (private) Finnish Cultural Foundation and the Ministry of Education and Culture initiated the establishment of Cupore (applied research). The University of Jyväskylä has also cooperated closely with the research unit of the Finnish arts council. This demonstrates that there were quite close connections between academic, governmental and private interests during the academic institutionalisation of cultural policy research in Finland. There was a similar development in Norway: Telemark University College initiated the establishment of (the private) Telemark Research Institute (1988), which has been the leading applied research institute in cultural policy research in Norway since the 1990s. Both institutions also contributed actively to the establishment of the cultural policy research unit in Arts Council Norway (1994). Despite this ‘overlap’, some relatively separate research communities (i.e. applied/consultancy, governmental/semi-public and academic research) gradually developed within this field of research (see later).
2Telemark University College started a course in Cultural Management (bachelor level) from 1975, a master’s programme in Cultural Studies from 1999 and a Ph.D. programme in Cultural Studies from 2012, all including ‘cultural policy’.
3The University of Jyväskylä started its Cultural Management programme in 1992 (1999), a Cultural Policy/Politics master’s programme in 1999 and a Cultural Policy Ph.D. programme in 1997. The University also organised several international summer schools, seminars and research colloquia between 1996 and 2012. (Information from Anita Kangas, February 2019).
4In French: “Liaison de centres d'information et de recherches culturelles en Europe”, https://uia.org/s/or/en/1100007788, January 2019.
5 https://www.coe.int/en/web/culture-and-heritage/cultural-policy-reviews, January 2019.
6 https://www.coe.int/en/web/culture-and-heritage/national-reviews, January 2019.
7However, the cultural policy research communities have developed hardly any specific theories of their own.
8According to the “Nordic List” of authorized research publication channels, “the International Journal of Cultural Policy” and “the Journal of Arts Management, Law and Society” are both classified “level 2”, while “the Nordic Journal of Cultural Policy” is classified “level 1”, https://dbh.nsd.uib.no/publiseringskanaler/Forside.
9The so-called ‘cultural policy debate’ in cultural studies in the 1990s may illustrate this challenge (cf. Cunningham 1992; Sørensen et al. 2008).
10E.g. the concept of ‘holistic nursing’: “The Journal of Holistic Nursing (JHN) is a peer-reviewed quarterly journal with a focus on integrating holistic health concepts with traditional Western medicine.” (Sage) https://journals.sagepub.com/home/jhn).
11ERICarts (European Institute for Comparative Cultural Research) is a research institute and network of international researchers, established in 1993/2004. The entrepreneur behind the centre is the German researcher Professor Doktor Andreas Wiesand (born 1945). ERICarts has also been responsible for the international Compendium of Cultural Policies and Trends, a web-based information and monitoring system for national cultural policies (mainly in Europe). Compendium was run by the Council of Europe and ERICarts from 1998 to 2017, cf. https://www.ericarts.org/mission.php (Jan. 2019). From 2017, Compendium lost its funding from the Council of Europe and has now been reorganised into a consortium of partners, based at the Boekman Foundation in the Netherlands, https://www.culturalpolicies.net/web/compendium.php, Jan. 2019.
12Both published in Norwegian.
13Personal experiences from several conferences organised by the Council of Europe, Encatc (the European Network on Cultural Management and Policy) and AIMAC (the International Conference on Arts and Cultural Management) in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. AIMAC was first held in Montreal in 1991 and Encatc was established in Warsaw in 1992. Both have organised annual and/or biennial (more or less research-oriented) conferences since the early 1990s. In addition, the Association of Cultural Economics International (ACEI) organises annual or biennial research conferences on cultural economics issues. The Journal of Cultural Economics was established by the American professor of cultural economics William Hendon as early as 1973. International cultural economics conferences have been organised since 1979, first by Hendon and the Association of Cultural Economics (ACE) and from 1993 by the (reorganised) Association of Cultural Economics International (ACEI). For information on AIMAC, see: https://www.gestiondesarts.com/en/aimac/conferences/#.XBzFPkmWyUk (Jan. 2019). For information on Encatc, see: https://encc.eu/resources/database/european-network-cultural-administration-training-centre s (Jan. 2019) and: https://www.encatc.org/ (Jan. 2019). For information on the Journal of Cultural Economics and the cultural economics conferences, see: http://www.culturaleconomics.org/ (Jan. 2019).
14It is my impression that cultural policy scholars from Eastern European countries participate less in typically academic international cultural policy research arenas than scholars from several other countries. This may be due to a shortage of financial resources in some Eastern European countries for participation in such arenas. It is also my impression that French scholars in this field of research prefer to participate in francophone, rather than anglophone, arenas. Finally, it is my impression that cultural policy research is less developed in Africa and South America than in many other countries/continents.
15This impression was also confirmed by a special issue of the IJCP (Cultural policy review of books, vol. 16, no. 1/2010). Here, several international scholars in the field were “invited to write a short review essay on one book that had influenced his/her thinking and which s/he would want new students of cultural policy to read” (i.e. IJCP Vol. 16/1, Preface). A wide variety of books and authors were mentioned.
16This is quite different from the situation for cultural economics and cultural studies. Most cultural economics scholars would probably refer to Baumol/Bowen 1966 as a ‘canonical text’, while cultural studies scholars might refer to Raymond Williams, Richard Hoggart and Stuart Hall.
17E.g. The Tom Fleming Creative Consultancy (http://tfconsultancy.co.uk/) and Comedia (Landry) (https://www.comedia.org.uk/) in the UK, and Andante in Sweden (http://www.toolsforthinking.se/). The activities of these consultancies/think thanks etc. are not necessarily limited to cultural field matters.
18Département des études de la prospective et des statistiques (DEPS) (Ministry of Culture, France). http://www.culture.gouv.fr/Thematiques/Etudes-et-statistiques/Le-DEPS (January 2019) and the Swedish Agency for Cultural Policy Analysis. This agency, which was established in 2011, is closely connected to the Ministry of Culture. According to the homepage of the institution, “The aim of the Agency is to provide a substantial contribution to the development of cultural policy, to support the government and in this way create better prerequisites for those active in the cultural field”, https://kulturanalys.se/en/ (March 2019).
19The backgrounds/origins of the four main Nordic institutions involved in academic cultural policy research were somewhat different: The Swedish (Borås) and Danish (Copenhagen) research communities originated mainly in library studies. The Finnish (Jyväskylä) and the Norwegian (Bø) research communities had strong roots in sociology, the latter also partly in ethnology and traditional cultural history. Of course, the institutionalisation of cultural policy research also depended on personal entrepreneurship in different institutions.
20Augustin Girard (1926-2009) was the creator (1963) and, for many years, the general director of the Research Division of the French Ministry of Culture.
21Carl-Johan Kleberg (born 1929) was for many years a general director of the Swedish Arts Council.
22Ritva Mitchell (born 1947) is a pioneer of Finnish and European cultural policy research and research administration. She was previously a special advisor to the Council of Europe and a research director of Cupore, Finland; see: https://www.cupore.fi/en/contact/researchers/researcher/ritva-mitchell-102613-04012017, January 2019.
23Rod Fisher (born 1944) is a European pioneer in cultural policy research and management. He has worked for the British Arts Council, the Council of Europe and several British universities. He was also a co-founder of CIRCLE (see above).
24Andreas Wiesand is a European pioneer in cultural policy research and research administration. He was a founder of ERICarts and Compendium.
25We should not underestimate, however, the extent to which semi-public/public and international institutions still publish substantial cultural policy research, e.g. Unesco 2017 and Compendium, https://www.culturalpolicies.net/web/index.php, January 2019.
26Every issue from 1994 to 2015 as a physical collection, later issues electronically from the library of the University of South-Eastern Norway.
27From 1998 to 2010 as a physical collection, later issues electronically from the library of the University of South-Eastern Norway.
28TUC merged with the University of South-Eastern Norway (USN) in 2018.
29I was a founder and subsequently head of the scientific committee of the ICCPR (from 1999 to 2012). I was also one of three organisers of the Norwegian Conference on Cultural Policy Research from 1993 to 2000 (Mangset 1996), a member of the editorial board of IJCP from 1994 to 2015, and a member of the editorial board of NJCP from 1998 to 2003.
30General Director of the Norwegian Ministry of Culture.
31E.g.: In 2014, the Norwegian government established ‘Kunnskapsverket, Nasjonalt kunnskapssenter for kulturelle næringer’ (Knowledge Works, the Norwegian Knowledge Centre for Cultural Industries), affiliated to Østlandsforskning, the Eastern Norway Research Institute.
32Published by Routledge/Taylor and Francis.
33Published by Taylor and Francis.
34Also published by Taylor and Francis.
35A Norwegian, a Swede and a Dane would normally understand one another, at least their mutual written languages, while the majority of Finns speak a language belonging to the Finno-Ugric group of languages that is very different from the other Nordic languages. Finland is, however, a bilingual country, in the sense that a minority (around 5%) primarily speak Swedish and even the Finnish majority learn Swedish at school. This implies that Finnish scholars can usually read Swedish, Danish and Norwegian. Finnish colleagues may have greater difficulties understanding spoken Norwegian, Swedish and Danish (especially Danish) at conferences. Icelandic is also a Nordic language, but barely comprehensible for other Nordic citizens. Traditionally however, many Icelanders (e.g. scholars and leading politicians) spoke and wrote another Nordic language (Danish, Swedish or Norwegian). Nowadays, Icelanders more frequently communicate in English with other Nordic colleagues. In Nordic research cooperation, Finns and Icelanders also often prefer to use English as a lingua franca, partly in order to include Baltic researchers in the research community.
36Homepage, IJCP.
37The ICCPR in Vienna resulted in two conference issues.
38Now “the University of Borås”.
39Bjørkås had to leave the organisational network after a couple of years and was replaced by Ellen Aslaksen, Arts Council Norway.
40There was no national (Norwegian) conference in 1999, because the first ICCPR was organised in Norway (Bergen) that year.
41Cf. final report to the Research Council of Norway on ‘Project no. 124943/540, ’Mange er kalt, men få er utvalgt’. Sosiokulturelle og kulturpolitiske utvelgelsesprosesser ved rekruttering til kunstnerrollen.’ Project period: 1.4.1998-1.10.2001, submitted 17.06.2002.
42The information about this project – and the subsequent Nordic conferences – is based on Duelund (Ed.) 2003 (preface) and on communication with Professor Emerita Anita Kangas, University of Jyväskylä (February 2019).
43According to Anita Kangas, the Nordic Network of Cultural Policy Research, which consisted of “civil servants (Arts Council or/and ministries) and researchers (Arts Council) from each country”, was behind the project (mail information, March 2019).
44A Danish cultural sociologist at the Danish Library School, Copenhagen.
45AIMAC = the International Conference on Arts and Cultural Management.
46The research project that the Research Council of Norway supported concerned the artist roles and professional strategies of young artists/art students (“Many are called, but few are chosen”). The plan for an international research conference was integrated in the application (Mangset 2004; Røyseng et al. 2007). Cf. final report to the Research Council of Norway on ‘Project no. 124943/540, “Mange er kalt, men få er utvalgt”. Sosiokulturelle og kulturpolitiske utvelgelsesprosesser ved rekruttering til kunstnerrollen.’ Project period: 1.4.1998-1.10.2001, submitted 17.06.2002.
47I.e. Warwick, Lyon, Berlin, Utrecht and Telemark.
48The Centre was linked to a Programme for cultural studies (1998-2002). Cultural policy research constituted only a minor part of the Centre’s activities and the projects within the programme (Holst 2008; Enebakk 2015).
49The SC may change members according to established internal rules/regulations.
50The ICCPR and the IJCP have had strong Nordic and UK representation throughout their histories. The two founders of the ICCPR were Norwegian (Mangset) and Danish (Skot-Hansen). The Scientific Committee has had two chairs: one Norwegian (Mangset) (1999-2012) and one Swedish (Johannisson) (2012-2020). The conference has – since the beginning – had permanent cooperation with a UK-based research journal (IJCP), edited by a British researcher (Bennett), who throughout the history of the ICCPR has been a very influential member of the Scientific Committee. Since its beginning in 1994, the IJCP has had a broad international Editorial Board, but always with strong Nordic and British representation.
51Original programme sheet for the first ICCPR, in Bergen, in November 1999. Archive, TUC.
52There was of course no bidding process before the first conference (Bergen 1999). Ahead of subsequent conferences, the SC has had to choose between competing candidates, for instance between two bids before ICCPR 2008: Istanbul ‘won’. Archive, Telemark University College (TUC), 2008.
53CALL FOR PAPERS, International Conference on Cultural Policy Research, in Bergen, Norway, 10-12 November 1999. Archive, TUC.
54CALL FOR PAPERS, International Conference on Cultural Policy Research, in Bergen, Norway, 10-12 November 1999. Archive, TUC.
55The homepages of the ICCPR (http://iccpr2018.tlu.ee/mission-statement/) and the IJCP (https://www.tandfonline.com/action/journalInformation?show=aimsScope&journalCode=gcul20), March 2019.
56CALL FOR PAPERS, International Conference on Cultural Policy Research, in Bergen, Norway, 10-12 November 1999. Archive, TUC.
57CALL FOR PAPERS, International Conference on Cultural Policy Research, in Bergen, Norway, 10–12 November 1999. Archive, TUC.
58CALL FOR PAPERS, International Conference on Cultural Policy Research, in Bergen, Norway, 10-12 November 1999, Archive, TUC.
59This and the following information about the specificities of each ICCPR conference are mainly based on the website/’history’ of the 10th ICCPR in Tallinn, 2018: http://iccpr2018.tlu.ee/history/, Jan. 2019.
60According to a paper on the ICCPR bidding process (2010), TUC archive.
61The University of Jyväskylä had had a lot of experience of organising similar conferences, especially because they organised the 4th Nordic cultural policy conference (NCCPR) in 2009.
62Waade is now (2019) Professor of Communication and Culture at Aarhus University, where she has served as an associate professor for many years. In 2003, she initiated the first NCCPR conference, just after having completed her Ph.D. (information from the website of the University and direct information from Waade).
63According to plans for paper sessions, NCCPR 2013, workplace archive at TUC.

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