By Valeria Morea and YounSun (Rosa) Won

The Third Value-Based Approach to Economics Workshop organized by University IUAV of Venice and Stichting Economie en Cultuur (SEC foundation) took place on 16 and 17 September 2022 in Venice, Italy. The 4 panels and 2 round table sessions included 22 presentations on the topics: Practices in Cities, Humane Economy, Evaluation of Culture and the Arts, and A New Approach to Cultural Policy.

This workshop aimed at creating an occasion to further scholarly exchange and research on the values of culture, following the 2nd Value-Based Conference, held October 1-2, 2021, in Rotterdam. The workshop was opened by Arjo Klamer, Professor of Humane Economy, Vrij University, Amsterdam. He introduced his conceptualisation of Value-Based Approach to understand the meanings of the arts and the research directions thereof. The first panel regarded Practices in Cities and explored the cultural and creative industries as urban phenomena. The focus has been on informality, regeneration, and innovative practices that relate cultural institutions to their territory. In particular, Martin Quinn presented a multiple case study research on the definition of the values of culture for cities and regions; Francesca Sabatini presented her doctoral research on the spatial appropriation and the rewriting of behavioural boundaries through unconventional operatic experiences in Italy; YounSun (Rosa) Won explored a way how to understand and assess urban qualities with two cases; Pavel Kuchar discussed the concepts of the commons and public goods in the context of markets, governance, and infrastructures; finally, Fabrizio Panozzo presented an ongoing research project on artivism in Venice.

The second panel regarded theoretical discussions on the pathways to a more humane approach to economics. Valeria Morea and Erwin Dekker argued that cultural policy should create space for the cultural civil society, in a presentation based on the upcoming book “Realizing the Values of Arts”; Michele Trimarchi reflected on the position of cultural economics relatively to the broader discipline of economics, maintaining that it is neither special nor ordinary, rather specific; (3) Mariangela Lavanga presented ideas on a wellbeing economy for the fashion industry, (4) Terence Kealey explored the notion of contribution goods in the historical context of the industrial revolution.

The third panel put the discussions on the level of evaluation. Here, presentations attempted to rethink impact and evaluation studies so to account for the variety of values that the arts realize. In this panel, Trine Bille proposed a research development to rethink consumer externalities; Andrea Baldin presented an empirical research on the lost value for users of theatres and museums during the covid-19 pandemic; Ellen Loots reflected on a didactic experience at Erasmus School of History Culture and Communication that engaged students with the assessment of cultural values and the social impact of cultural industries; Massimiliano Nuccio presented a review article on the rhetoric of impact and how the discipline should evolve in the near future; finally, Paola Borrione and Martha Friel shared the evaluation of the impact of independent cultural centres in Turin, Italy.

As a consequence of the previous panel, the last bit of the workshop regarded new approaches to cultural policy. Françoise Benhamou tackled the developing market of NFTs and the related policy issues; Alice Borchi presented the conceptual backbone of a book project titled Economics, Value, Culture, and the Problem of Measure; Bronywn Coate shared the results of an empirical study on the value of the local book and stories with reference to Australian cultural minorities; presented insights from the application of the value-based approach in the context of disruptive creativity and innovation; and explored the institutional ambiguity that often impacts on the experiences of cultural commons; and Trilce Navarrete presented on the potential of a digital cultural infrastructure as a cultural commons to feed the creative economy.

The round tables have worked as creative spaces in which attendees manifested their concerns and ideas to improve the research and teaching of cultural economics. Participants are now working on an editorial project to join forces in apparently different realms of the discipline, to bridge methodological differences and stress the need for a renewed look at values, impact studies, and governance in the cultural sectors. Based on the outcomes of this event, the next workshop, in 2023, will tackle the contentious question of why we have to measure the impact of creative and cultural industries.

Scientific committee: Valeria Morea (IUAV), YounSun (Rosa) Won (Erasmus University), Arjo Klamer (Vrije University), Michele Trimarchi (Magna Graecia Catanzaro).

Local committee: Stefania Tonin (IUAV), Laura Fregolent (IUAV), Matteo Basso (IUAV).

Images: Courtesy of Valeria Morea.

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