The Digest

Academic insights for the cultural sector

Interdisciplinary.
    Bite-sized.
        Relevant.
            For researchers and practitioners.

Issue 7 — Art, Politics, and Civic Participation — June 2015


Cultural Participation is Civic Participation
By Nelsen, Matt
Broadening the definition of "civic participation" to include arts and culture—with dramatic results.


The Social Impact of a Night out at the Concert Hall
By Malone, Kerri
Investigating whether attending concerts makes people more civically engaged.


Reevaluating the Social Worth of Community Arts Participation
By Nelsen, Matt
Facing the problem of how to measure the impact of the arts on a community's social well-being.


Sociopolitical Music-Making
By Malone, Kerri
Latino immigrants are abstaining from traditional forms of American civic participation, choosing instead to address their everyday challenges in a less traditional way: through music-making.


Issue 6 — Circulation or Regulation? Art and Media in International Cultural Exchange — April 2015


The Global Academy Awards: Cultural Policy in Transnational Film
By Malone, Kerri
The policies and content characteristics that reveal how and why Hollywood dominates the global film industry.


Foreign Media and Competitive Hubs of Cultural Influence: The Case of Malawi
By Nelsen, Matt
Considering how national, regional, and international media compete to shape local culture.


Artist Exchange and the Predicaments of Public Funding in the Post-9/11 Era
By Nelsen, Matt
Reignited interest in U.S.–Middle East cultural exchange programs is hindered by new funding regulations.


Controversy’s Precarious Position in Dutch International Cultural Policy
By Nelsen, Matt
Maintaining a positive national image abroad at the expense of free artistic expression.


Issue 5 — Looking Back, Looking Forward: What's Next for the Creative City? — January 2015


Keep it Local! The Importance of Place in Arts-Driven Urban Development
By Nelsen, Matt
Metro areas with prominent cultural industries are often used as transferable models for economic development. Yet, urban developers should be wary of overgeneralization—local characteristics matter.


Customizing Policy for Creative Cities in Three Steps
By Malone, Kerri
The gap between creative city theory and practice too often produces ineffectual policy. City policymakers can begin to close this gap by using a novel three-step approach.


What’s Great about the ‘Good City?’
By Nelsen, Matt
Creative cities have major economic clout, but the arts also play an important role beyond driving urban development: they create 'good cities' that foster inclusive urban communities.


Problematizing Cultural Events in Europe’s Tourist Cities
By Malone, Kerri
The shortcomings of programs that use cultural events to boost a city’s reputation and tourism industry are numerous. A better solution may be smaller, “everyday” cultural events and experiences.


Looking Back while Moving Forward: What’s Next for Urban Arts and Culture Research?
By Nelsen, Matt
The past decade of policy research has addressed the role of arts and and culture in driving urban economic development, but what's next? What arts-related questions still need to be explored?


Issue 4 — Digital and Postdigital — June 2014


Survey Shows Digitizing Record Labels Adapt to the “Long Tail”
By Fleming, James
Record companies utilizing digital technologies do not necessarily sell more units, but they do release more albums, consistent with Chris Anderson's vision of the Long Tail — but with some surprises and caveats.


Understanding the Postdigital Museum
By Rugg, Gwendolyn
Digital technology in museums has become normative — it's time to focus less on the tech and more on what that means for museums' strategies and structures.


Testing Technology: How Augmented Reality Helps Museum Visitors Appreciate Paintings
By O'Malley, Michael K.
A study compares the learning effectiveness of an art museum augmented-reality guide platform with that of a common audio guide.


Free Music Streaming Boosts Megastar Concerts Without Stealing CD Sales
By Fleming, James
A French survey determined that streaming services such as Spotify or YouTube boost attendance at concerts without negatively affecting physical CD sales, but effect isn't the same for all artists.


Natural Experiment Finds Arts Broadcasts Boosted Live Audiences
By O'Malley, Michael K.
In 2009, the Royal National Theatre was the world's first theater to broadcast a performance in movie theaters, and it actually boosted their live attendance numbers.


Issue 3 — Creative Industries and Workers — April 2014


Instilling Innovation: An Economic Defense of Arts and Crafts
By Rugg, Gwendolyn
This study examines the impacts of childhood exposure to the arts on eventual professional innovation in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).


What’s the Art School Version of Entrepreneurship Training?
By Rugg, Gwendolyn
Business school curricula cannot simply be imported to art schools. So how do you incorporate principles of entrepreneurship into artistic training?


Where Knowledge Workers Want to Live and Why
By O'Malley, Michael K.
When choosing where to live, what's more important: proximity to cultural facilities, schools, and the office, or housing price and neighborhood socioeconomic level?


Why Do Artists Report Higher Job Satisfaction?
By Fleming, James
Artists are more satisfied with their work than non-artists, and the reason cannot be explained by differences in income or working hours. Artists' job satisfaction likely stems in part from the nature of artistic work itself.


Making Connections: The Key to Success in the Popular Music Industry
By Rugg, Gwendolyn
The most innovative musicians are not necessarily the most inherently talented, nor are they the ones with the most resources at their disposal. Network theory helps explain how innovation happens in music.


Who Identifies as an “Artist”? Arts Professionals Are Surprisingly Divided
By O'Malley, Michael K.
A significant number of survey respondents said they work in an arts-related occupation but do not consider themselves to be professional artists. The reason why could change the way cities try to attract creative workers.


Issue 2 — Creative Cities in Theory and Practice — January 2014


Creative City Case Studies
By Fleming, James - O'Malley, Michael K. - Rugg, Gwendolyn
Toronto, Scranton, Denver, Barcelona, Madrid, Brisbane, Melbourne, Beijing, and Glasgow


Creative Contradictions: How Urban Development Strategies Can Harm Creative Industries
By Fleming, James
In "Creatives in the City: Urban contradictions of the creative city," Elsa Vivant, a professor at the Université Paris Est Marne la Vallée, asks how the strategies of urban revitalization hamper the development of a creative economy.


Arts Festivals and Their Cities: How to Think About a Complicated Relationship
By Rugg, Gwendolyn
Cecile Sachs Olsen at Zurich University of the Arts examines cultural policy as it relates to festivals, arguing that the primary aim of most current policy is to charter economically profitable, tourism-boosting, and image-enhancing festivals, while overlooking their potential for cultural impact.


Making Planning Creative: ‘New Conceptual Spaces’ for Art and Policy
By O'Malley, Michael K.
In their article, "Getting Creative with the 'Creative City'? Towards New Perspectives on Creativity in Urban Policy," Thomas Borén and Craig Young address the need to understand how public officials deploy the concept of creativity within urban policy contexts and to close the gap between policymakers' and creative practitioners' definitions of creativity.


In Toronto and Austin, Standard Creative City Language Belies More Complex Models
By Fleming, James
In his article, "Cultural Economy Planning in Creative Cities: Discourse and Practice," University of Texas professor Carl Grodach examines the influence of theoretical models for cultural or creative economies of two cities, Toronto and Austin.


Issue 1 — Arts Advocacy and Arts Education — May 2013


Arts, Brought to you by Hollywood, iTunes, and Nintendo
By Surh, Gregory M.
In "Using the Arts to Pay for the Arts: A Proposed New Public Funding Model," Indiana University lecturer Michael Wilkerson argues that current policies and practices concerning public funding for the arts in the United States are inadequate and unstable, and a new model is needed.


Support for Public Culture: An Impossible American Dream?
By Surh, Gregory M.
In "Public Culture in America: A Review of Cultural Policy Debates," Professor Dustin Kidd of Temple University summarizes the range of justifications that have been used in support of public culture since the 1980s.


Arts Advocacy in the Facebook Age
By Gibbons, Catherine K.
Julie Hawkins, a professor at Drexel University and formerly of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, paints a picture of how arts advocacy efforts might be adapted to the changing economic realities in her article "Leveraging the Power of Individuals for Arts Advocacy."


School-Level Arts Advocacy
By Surh, Gregory M.
In "Arts Education Advocacy: The Relative Effects of School-Level Influences on Resources for Arts Education," Peter Miksza draws on data from the 2009-2010 National Center for Education Statistics to determine the conditions in schools that affect arts education. Adequate funding and specialized arts teachers are essential for quality arts education, and Miksza focuses on what factors help predict these resources.


Arts Education: Chicken Soup for the Brain as Well as the Soul
By Surh, Gregory M.
In his article "Seismic Shifts in the Education Landscape: What Do They Mean for Arts Education and Arts Education Policy?" Professor F. Robert Sabol of Purdue University argues that the skills and critical capacities of creativity, collaboration, problem solving and empathy that are honed through involvement with the arts are essential ones for the economy and society of the 21st century. Nevertheless, arts educators find themselves in the difficult situation of having to justify and advocate for the existence of arts education within American schools in an era in which test scores, particularly in math and English, are the primary tool of evaluation and accountability.


Bridging the Gap: Community-Focused Arts Education Policy
By Gibbons, Catherine K.
Kate R. Fitzpatrick, Assistant Professor of Music at the University of Michigan, argues that Chicago's system of local school control has resulted in a lack of funding for arts education. However, with some tweaking, the system of local school control could provide a compelling alternative for school systems.


Positive Evidence for Arts Education Legislation
By Gibbons, Catherine K.
In his article "Music in U.S. Federal Education Policy: Estimating the Effect of 'Core Status' for Music," University of Maryland professor Kenneth Elpus reviews Goals 2000: Educate America Act, a piece of federal legislation passed in 1994 that declared the arts a core subject in American schools.


Letter from the Editors
By Farrell, Betty - Anderson, Will
The Cultural Policy Center is pleased to present the first issue of a new online publication for the cultural sector. The Digest identifies important academic research that is often inaccessible, due to paywalls or jargon, and presents it in summary form for a broad audience of scholars, practitioners, and policymakers.