Reading right now #4

By Astrid Holm and Nina Gram

When the Suitcase asks audiences about their experiences we indirectly touch on fundamental questions about relevance and value within the fields of art and culture. At the moment, we are therefore preoccupied with the recent publication by Professor Trine Bille “The value of culture, art and theatre”.
So much so that Caroline Tindborg and Astrid Holm from the Royal Danish Theatre has created a power point extracting and presenting the most relevant points, thus making the material even easier to digest.

Immerse yourself in the Prezi power point here
(in Danish).

The most relevant points in the report:

The Report “The value of culture, art and theatre” was requested by the common organization of Danish theatres “Danske Teatres Fællesorganisation”. In the study, Trine Bille gives an overview of relevant research on the question of value in relation to culture, art and theatre. She for instance presents different understandings of the concepts of art and culture. She sees culture as a sector within which art is defined in different genres, such as visual arts, performing arts, music, literature, etc. The cultural sector itself consists of cultural institutions, organizations and people working with these genres.

An interesting element in Billes report is her work on the effect of art. She presents a so called “effect chain”, which makes it possible to examine the output of the art (e.g. sale), the outcome (impact on individual level) and the impact (impact on society level). According to Bille it may be an advantage to dive more into the effects at the individual level. When we relate the work of The Suitcase of Methods to this chain, it becomes obvious that we primarily focus on “the outcome” and the individual level. What is interesting is how we can move from having data and knowledge on this level to understanding how this individual impact affects us on a more basic society level – Bille’s last link in the chain.

Bille’s study is interesting because it may help provide a “common language” and point of departure for these questions of value of art and culture. Bille underlines the importance of understanding different perspective in this discussion in order to be able to communicate about these complex issues. For example, as a cultural institution, we must be aware of our own understanding of the value and quality of art – and the politicians understanding of it.

In addition, she also discusses the concept of value. According to Bille, art and culture include cultural values, which include strengthening the cohesion of society and the development of new communities. The problem with this value is that it is difficult to detect and quantify. In addition, art and culture can also create narrow economic value, as they contribute to jobs, sales and exports. Combining these two values gives the total value for art and culture. Because the politicians often focus on measurements and involve them in the decision-making, Bille advise the cultural sector to focus on cultural and non-marketable values.

You can find more information in our presentation here or in Trine Bille’s full report. Both are in Danish.


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