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Research & Writing

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Selecting and hosting artists in a globalizing art world
MA Thesis
Erasmus  University Rotterdam
Made with the kind cooperation of
Janwillem Schroffer 

The main research question of this study is “How do programmers in artistic residencies select and host artists in the context of globalization of the high arts?” In literature concerning high arts globalization, the focus had fallen on the art markets, commercial galleries and art fairs. The current research aims to shed light on the previously unknown gatekeeping roles in not for profit organizations in the context of high arts globalization. Further, the research investigates the understudied role of the cultural programmer as an actor in the art world. Finally, this master thesis aims to create new academic insights about how artistic residencies operate. Empirically the research is based on nine semi-structured interviews with cultural programmers working in AiRs in The Netherlands. Grounded theory was used as analysis method, the coding took place in Atlas.ti.The research has shown that programmers operate in programming committees which are themselves matched to each institution by its directors. The committees are formed based on multiple considerations such as diversity in occupation, diversity in gender, social capital and work experience. Smaller residencies built a committee on a national level, while larger residencies aim to gather actors on an international level. This shows interconnectedness between different regions, but the actors do not operate in one global field, instead, each contributes to the committee with local expertise. The key findings show that the two main practices that cultural programmers engage in when selecting and hosting artists involve processes of matching and facilitating. Those practices encounter specific opportunities and constraints and are balancing act between pragmatic requirements and constraints and ideal visions.

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