The University of Southampton
Courses

HUMA2013 How the Arts Work: a practical introduction to cultural economics

Module Overview

Southampton invests more in professional arts programming than any other Russell Group university. We want you to benefit to the full. This Humanities module, delivered in partnership with the John Hansard Gallery, Nuffield Theatre and Turner Sims concert hall, is open to students from all disciplines as a free elective module.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• Encourage regular attendance at arts events: you will watch professional artists in action, meet a number of them in specially-arranged discussion sessions, and review their work • Show you how professional arts venues are programmed and how they are managed • Show you how the arts are marketed, and get you actively involved in marketing campaigns • Describe the policy framework within which arts venues operate – how they interact with Arts Council England, with local authorities, with politically autonomous funding bodies (trusts and foundations) and with commercial sponsors • Introduce some of the academic theory developed to explain patterns of production and consumption in the arts – how are artists motivated; what do audiences want from the arts; why do governments support some forms of art but not others (etc.)? • Encourage regular attendance at arts events: you will watch professional artists in action, meet a number of them in specially-arranged discussion sessions, and review their work • Show you how professional arts venues are programmed and how they are managed • Show you how the arts are marketed, and get you actively involved in marketing campaigns • Describe the policy framework within which arts venues operate – how they interact with Arts Council England, with local authorities, with politically autonomous funding bodies (trusts and foundations) and with commercial sponsors • Introduce some of the academic theory developed to explain patterns of production and consumption in the arts – how are artists motivated; what do audiences want from the arts; why do governments support some forms of art but not others (etc.)?

Learning Outcomes

Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • communicate through oral and written modes
  • manage your time effectively
  • complete structured writing of assignments
  • engage in constructive critical debate with others
  • influence other people’s thinking [about the arts], and influence the way they choose to spend some of their leisure time
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • make well informed choices about your future attendance at arts events
  • demonstrate critical understanding of a range of professional arts practices
  • write insightful reviews of arts events
  • make realistic suggestions for future arts programming in and beyond Southampton
  • help to generate audiences for arts events
  • make connections between academic theory and current professional practice in the areas of arts management and cultural policy
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • gather and analyse information
  • evaluate different sorts of evidence
  • debate issues

Syllabus

This module places the University of Southampton’s arts venues at centre stage. Southampton invests more in professional arts programming than any other Russell Group university. We want you to benefit to the full – to meet arts managers and engage them in debate, to watch international artists in action on Highfield Campus, to take active part in arts marketing campaigns and to explore some of the academic theory developed to explain patterns of production and consumption in the arts. Teaching will be concentrated in Semester 1 each year. Speakers from the John Hansard Gallery, Nuffield Theatre and Turner Sims concert hall will unveil their programmes for the year ahead, explaining how these were put together and highlighting events of special interest (2 x 2-hour sessions per venue, all facilitated by course co-ordinator Professor Andrew Pinnock). You will be expected to attend a minimum of 6 events during the year, and to review them for assessment purposes. Where admission charges normally apply (not in the Hansard), complimentary tickets will be provided subject to availability. Sessions also delivered in Semester 1 and again involving specialist staff from all three venues will cover arts marketing, arts education and the practical application of cultural-economic theory. A session on the art of reviewing will prepare you for work on their assignments. In Semester 2 a number of optional seminars will be arranged, allowing students who may be considering careers in the arts to discuss the pros and cons with established professionals. A cultural economics reading group will run in Semester 2 if sufficient demand exists, to support continuing independent study. Toward the end of Semester 2 you will submit a portfolio of written work for formal assessment. This should contain six reviews (4-500 words each) of events attended, and one essay (2,500 words) on an arts management or policy topic chosen from a list of up to ten. POSSIBLE ESSAY TOPICS These are illustrations: they may be replaced or reframed before the module launches. Please research your essay thoroughly and imaginatively. A handbook of cultural economics is an excellent starting point, but don't stop there. Markers will look for evidence of research as well as original thinking. Make sure you supply it using a recognised academic referencing system. (For advice see Hartley Library’s referencing guide: http://library.soton.ac.uk/referencing ) WHY BOTHER WITH THE ARTS? People have a variety of reasons for attending arts events presumably, or for staying away. With help from A handbook of cultural economics and other available sources, try to decide what the most important of these reasons might be. THEN, for an imaginary venue manager, write a 2,500 word briefing paper summarizing your findings and explaining their operational importance. What could s/he do to attract new audiences? GRANTS FOR THE ARTS Why does central government (through bodies like Arts Council England) and local government give money to arts organisations? How are grant recipients selected? What are they expected to deliver in return? With help from A handbook of cultural economics and other available sources, try to discover the likeliest motives for government arts subsidy and try to distinguish real public benefits from doubtful ones. THEN, for an imaginary local authority arts officer, write a 2,500 word briefing paper summarizing your findings and advising him or her on least-worst ways to implement another round of budget cuts. What sorts of grant matter most? Where should funding priorities lie? GREAT ART AND CULTURE FOR EVERYONE "Great Art and Culture for Everyone" is the mission statement of Arts Council England. It raises a number of questions. What is art? What makes art great? Who gets to decide, and on what criteria? Is greatness contestable? Is greatness time-limited? In what circumstances (if ever) is less than great art worth funding? Does everybody want great art? How does art differ from culture? Looking at the Arts Council's grant allocation decisions over time [data sources will be signposted by the course co-ordinator], try to decide what it means by great art. Try to identify forms of art or approaches to art which the Arts Council in its present or previous manifestations could be accused of neglecting. THEN, for an imaginary government arts minister, write a 2,500 word briefing paper summarizing your findings and suggesting the sorts of reform likely to be needed to turn “Great Art and Culture for Everyone” from slogan to reality.

Special Features

This module – developed and delivered in collaboration with senior staff in the John Hansard Gallery, Nuffield Theatre and Turner Sims concert hall and with members of the University’s Arts Strategy Group – encourages student attendance at arts events, gets you actively involved in arts marketing activities and creates networking opportunities of immense value to you considering careers in the arts. It is unique to Southampton. No other Russell Group university has a gallery, theatre and concert hall on site, all three supported by Arts Council England and all promoting programmes of international quality. How the Arts Work makes their expertise available to students across the university and creates a new forum for debate about future arts developments on and off campus.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include • lectures • classes Learning activities include • lectures • classes • private study

TypeHours
Follow-up work10
Completion of assessment task70
Seminar5
Preparation for scheduled sessions10
Wider reading or practice20
External visits15
Lecture18
Tutorial2
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Frey, Bruno (2000). Arts & economics: analysis and cultural policy. 

Becker, Howard S. (1982). Art worlds. 

Towse, Ruth (ed.) (2013). A handbook of cultural economics. 

Abbing, Hans (2002). Why are artists poor? The exceptional economy of the arts. 

English, James F. (2005). The economy of prestige: prizes, awards, and the circulation of cultural value. 

Colbert, François et al. (2009). Marketing culture and the arts. 

Mokwa, Michael P., Dawson, William M. and Prieve, E. Arthur (eds) (1980). Marketing the arts. 

Abbing, Hans (2006). From high art to new art. 

Alexander, Victoria D. (2003). Sociology of the arts: exploring fine and popular forms. 

Seabrook, John (2000). Nobrow: the culture of marketing, the marketing of culture. 

Caves, Richard E. (2000). Creative industries: contracts between art and commerce. 

Assessment

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (2500 words) 50%
Event reviews  (2500 words) 50%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Written assignment  (2500 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Costs

Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Travel Costs for placements

some “complimentary” tickets may need to be paid for

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at www.calendar.soton.ac.uk.

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