Mission-driven arts organisations and initiatives: Surviving and thriving locally in a time of rupture

Elizabeth Carnegie, Andreana Drencheva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine how mission-driven arts organisations respond to the complex set of economic and social conditions that the authors here term as a significant point of rupture. Drawing on the papers that form a part of the special section of this issue, the authors critically examine how the intersection of globalisation and neoliberalism creates multidimensional uncertainty that shapes the opportunities, responsibilities, work arrangements, and lived experiences of artists and artist-led initiatives
and organisations.

Design/methodology/approach – In this introduction to the symposium on mission-driven arts organisations and initiatives, the authors explore how the included articles question and introduce key concerns that govern, limit and support mission-driven arts organisations.

Findings – Drawing on the papers in this set, the authors note that mission-driven arts organisations are diverse and employ numerous organising forms. However, at their core is the pursuit of social objectives, which also requires the management of often conflicting artistic, economic, cultural and social demands. The authors explicate how mission-driven arts organisations respond to local agendas and work best at the community level. As such, they may not play a key role in tourism or large-scale cultural regeneration of spaces, but rather seek to make creative use of sunken and redundant, often inner city spaces to address local needs. Yet, the uncertainty that these organisations face shapes temporary solutions that may enhance the precariaty and pressures for artists and creative producers with likely impact on wellbeing.

Originality/value – This paper brings together original insights into how mission-drive organisations seek to overcome and indeed flourish in a time of rupture. It moves beyond the notion of cultural regeneration as an instrument of tourism, and tourism as a focus of regeneration, to consider the value such organisations bring to localities evidenced in both creative practices and as local cultural engagement beyond economic impact. In doing so, mission-driven arts organisations play a vital role in a time of rapid change.
Original languageEnglish
Article number9.2
Pages (from-to)178-187
Number of pages9
JournalArts and the Market
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 28 Oct 2019


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