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Art in a time of rupture: the changing landscape of mission-driven and community-based arts and cultural initiatives

Special issue call for papers from Arts and the Market

Guest Editors

Dr. Elizabeth Carnegie
Creative and Cultural Industries Management, Sheffield University Management School, The University of Sheffield, Sheffield, S10 2TN, UK. [email protected]

Dr. Andreana Drencheva
Lecturer in Entrepreneurship, Sheffield University Management School, The University of Sheffield, Sheffield, S10 2TN, UK. [email protected]

We send out this call for papers at a point of rupture as the intersection of globalisation, nationalism, and neoliberalism creates multidimensional uncertainty that shapes the opportunities, responsibilities, work arrangements, and lived experiences of artists, artist-led initiatives, and cultural organisations. Increasingly limited access to funding with shifting priorities, market fragmentation, and public policy place demands on arts organisations and initiatives to change their business models and become more ‘entrepreneurial’ and ‘resilient’.

At the same time, a significant number of major government supported or endorsed contemporary art galleries have been developed in major cities and coastal resorts, aimed at cultural and economic regeneration of post-industrial and sunken spaces, attracting tourists while adding a certain cultural cachet to regions. As Southend Council recently abandoned plans for their own seaside museum on grounds of cost, such approaches seem unlikely to provide sustainable models for future development, amidst concerns about how they support local artists’ work (Sklair, 2017). The post-industrial landscape has additionally supported the development of ‘brownfield sites’, housing studios and artists’ collectives, often becoming the nucleus of creative clusters at least in the short term.

As the landscape for local, national, and international art and artists’ spaces has changed considerably in recent years, arts organisations and initiatives are increasingly being, and indeed required to be, mission-driven. ‘Mission-driven arts organisations’ is an umbrella term that brings together diverse organisations and initiatives that pursue both social and artistic or cultural objectives. Thus, mission-driven arts organisations are diverse and employ numerous organising forms, such as social enterprises, co-operatives, social movements, temporary organisations and initiatives. However, at their core is the pursuit of social objectives, which also requires the management of often conflicting artistic, economic, cultural, and social demands (Battilana and Lee, 2014). In this context, artists’ lived experiences are marked by tensions and contradictions as they negotiate precarious careers, and develop their creative and artistic values within a challenging marketplace (Lingo and Tepper, 2013).

How do artists and mission-driven arts organisations navigate the uncertainty of contemporary artistic careers in the context of the social, economic, and technological uncertainty of our times? This question is not only timely from a practice perspective, but also creates an opportunity for dialogue between rapidly growing, yet fragmented, research streams across the cultural and creative industries. This issue will provide an opportunity for a vibrant conversation that for the first time brings together different viewpoints to understand how artists and arts organisations cope with and thrive in today’s uncertainty to catalyse positive social change, while meeting economic demands.

The overarching theme of this special edition is to understand how rupture and complex and rapid change impacts on support for art, artists, and artists’ spaces and in doing so to provide cutting-edge insights relevant for contemporary theory, practice and teaching. It is in this spirit that we are calling for papers that shed light on the foundations and nature of mission-driven arts organisations and initiatives across levels of analysis: from individuals and organisations to communities and institutions.

Topics that will be considered include, but are not limited to:

•    The lived experiences of individuals in and supported by mission-driven arts organisations and initiatives;
•    The lived experiences and impact of artists embedded in local communities through the use of temporary spaces and artistic residencies;
•    How art, artists, and mission-driven arts organisations and initiatives thrive in environments of high and multilevel uncertainty, including outsider and street art as a political and social response to uncertainty;
•    The types and organising forms of mission-driven arts organisations and initiatives, including the use of temporary spaces, temporary initiatives, artistic co-operatives, and employee-owned organisations;
•    Explorations of mission-driven arts organisations and initiatives across all levels – from small community organisations to elite arts organisations and large temporary initiatives, such as European Capital of Culture;
•    The social objectives pursued by mission-driven arts organisations and initiatives and approaches to achieve these social objectives, including the use of technology;
•    The hybridity challenges of mission-driven arts organisations and initiatives: How do these organsiations and initiatives manage artistic, cultural, economic, and social demands and navigate challenges stemming from these potentially conflicting demands in relation to identity and legitimacy?
•    How do mission-driven arts organisations and initiatives maintain their sustainability and avoid mission drift?


Battilana, J. and Lee, M. (2014). Advancing Research on Hybrid Organizing–Insights from the Study of Social Enterprises. Academy of Management Annals, 8(1), pp.397-441.
Lingo, E.L. and Tepper, S.J. (2013). Looking Back, Looking Forward: Arts-Based Careers and Creative Work. Work and Occupations, 40(4), pp.337-363.
Ponzini, D. and Nastasi, M. (2016) Starchitecture: Scenes, Actors and Spectacles in Contemporary Cities. New York:The Monacelli Press.
Sklair, Leslie (2017) The Icon Project: Architecture, Cities and Capitalist Globalisation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Process and deadlines

All submissions will be subject to double-blind peer review in accordance with Emerald guidelines. Full papers of no more than 10,000 words should be submitted to the ScholarOne website for the journal at by Wednesday 15th May 2019. Please select the special issue from the drop down menu during submission.