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    Nice but not essential: rethinking value in the work of small visual arts organisations from a decolonial perspective

    Dzuverovic, Lina (2020) Nice but not essential: rethinking value in the work of small visual arts organisations from a decolonial perspective. In: Another Artworld, 3-4 December 2020, Belgrade, Serbia. (Unpublished)

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    Do we value the quality and longevity of relationships we build as cultural workers? Is embodied knowledge about our organisations ‘worth’ anything? Is solidarity, collegiality and ethical work seen as important, or is value in the neoliberal art arena solely attached to public visibility and high-profile cultural outputs? This paper centres on the question of value in cultural work, not in monetary terms, but examining which aspects of cultural work we currently value, and which aspects have been overlooked or side-lined under neoliberal pressures. Focusing on small visual arts organsations in London as case studies, the paper examines ways in which underlying values shape the way our arts organisations function, and the conditions necessary for their survival. With a view to imagining ‘another artworld’, the paper proposes a re-examination of value in cultural work, specifically in relation to small visual arts organisations whose role is often one of incubators, nurturing hubs and supporters of emerging practitioners. Drawing on postcolonial, decolonial theory (Mignolo, Anzaldua, Freire, hooks, Hall) as well as cultural policy discourse (Alacovska, McRobbie, O’Brien) and the outcomes of the AHRC Cultural Value Project (2012), the paper takes as a point of departure the notion of ‘deferred value’ (Thelwall, 2013) as a possible way of shifting the importance from output to process/relations, seeking to open up new perspectives on value in the work of small visual arts organisations. Using an autoethnographic approach, the author draws on her experience of co-founding and running Electra, a contemporary art commissioning organisation in London, while also exploring the work of similarly sized London-based arts organisations. The paper proposes a decolonial re-evaluation of the work and governance of such organisations, opening a way towards a paradigmatic shift in what matters in cultural work.


    Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Creative Arts, Culture and Communication
    Depositing User: Lina Dzuverovic
    Date Deposited: 04 Oct 2021 14:44
    Last Modified: 09 Aug 2023 12:49


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