This Week: In an age of artists what is the definition of being an artist?… Canadian study says arts workers are most at risk… What is R&D in the arts?… Edinburgh Festival’s success shows the broadening impact of festivals… In the information age our opinions seem to be more arrogant.
- We’re All Artists Now (So Maybe It’s Worth Asking What Is An Artist?): We equate creativity with artistry. And in our hyper-creative socially-connected world, everyone seems to have claims on being an artist, and/or a curator. So has the definition of artist become broadened or devalued? Barry Hessenius wonders:“Is artist defined by talent and skill, by length of practice or legacy? Are there common characteristics of all artists beyond the attempt to create? Do we include those only within our sphere or all of those beyond our recognition? If creation alone does not constitute conferring the appellation of artist, can one grow into the post? If art is a process, are you an artist only when you have practiced your ‘art’ for a term? Or is the definition of an artist and art best left to each of us to ponder for ourselves?”
- Canadian Study Reports That Arts Workers Are Most At Risk: We live in the gig economy. And maybe it’s more efficient economically. But it’s also more precarious for workers. This Canadian study – of workers across the economy in the province of Ontario – looked at job security and wage security, and ranked sectors. At the very top of the list of workers most at risk are arts and entertainment workers. Perhaps it’s not a surprise because working in the arts has always been precarious. But the study says that wage theft and job security is a big problem and suggests the scale of the issue.
- What Is R&D In the Arts? (Because The Term Is Misunderstood): The tech industry is built on innovation, and its success has been attributed to research and development. So now people are wondering why the arts don’t do similar investment. But maybe the tech model of R&D doesn’t fit the arts. “The culture industry is great at discussing things forever; digital is great at whittling down definitions. It’s both admirable and troubling that we in the arts don’t know, or don’t want to know what we mean by R&D. It’s particularly difficult, because artistic or ‘cultural change’ projects are playing by similar rules to product development ones, often pitching for the same cash. But the game we’re playing, and what we’re getting out of it, is totally different. There may be no way of knowing any of the outcomes we’re hoping for before we start. Perhaps, for artists, research projects are development projects. Perhaps we’re all doing R&D whenever we get creative… or maybe none of us are!”
- Festivals Are Hot Right Now And Here’s Example No. 1: Festivals are proliferating like crazy. And they’re having big impact on their communities, both artistically and economically. “The value of Edinburgh’s festivals has soared by almost a quarter to £313 million in the space of just five years … They are also now supporting 6,021 jobs – up by 26 per cent – according to findings released ahead of next month’s 70th annual season.”
- Why Are People Getting More Arrogant About Things They Think They Know? Our debates about everything seem to be getting sharper and more dysfunctional, even as people have more information available to them. And the problem seems to be getting worse even as the digital world expands. Why? “Intellectual humility relies on the ability to prefer truth over social status. It is marked primarily by a commitment to seeking answers, and a willingness to accept new ideas – even if they contradict our views. In listening to others, we run the risk of discovering that they know more than we do. But humble people see personal growth as a goal in itself, rather than as a means of moving up the social ladder. We miss out on a lot of available information if we focus only on ourselves and on our place in the world. The internet and digital media have created the impression of limitless knowledge at our fingertips. But, by making us lazy, they have opened up a space that ignorance can fill.”