The project responds to the ongoing policy debate about artistic freedom and the role of artists in the context of the neoliberal political economy. Creative practitioners are expected to become “artrepreneurs” to self-manage and self-organize their careers at times of great uncertainty due to the dynamics of internationalization and digitalization, while at the same time, they experience great pressure to commercialize their creative works for economic survival.
The project seeks to create a novel knowledge basis to understand creative practitioners’ own experiences of the dilemma of artistic freedom and marketization that the policy imperative of entrepreneurship posits on them by asking: 1) what are the main challenges and obstacles to the economic and social sustainability of artrepreneurs’ work and creative practices; 2) to what extent can individual strategies and forms of collective organizing help artists to overcome these challenges; 3) how do different political programs within the cultural field influence the way artrepreneurs work and how do they relate to the local ideas of artistic freedom?
The international project team will focus on four countries in the Baltic Sea region: Sweden, Finland, Estonia and Lithuania, where qualitative case studies will be conducted. Our theoretical approach combines cultural sociology, critical cultural policy studies and media and business studies.