Conflicting Values, the Balancing Act of Artists

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    This chapter explores the role of entrepreneurship within the careers of fine artists. This is positioned within the context of the discourse of cultural value. How artists manage their artistic and, sometimes conflicting, entrepreneurial identities is explored. The fields of entrepreneurship, and more recently the creative industries, have received much attention from both policy makers and researchers. Fine artists are perhaps one of the least employable, and arguably most entrepreneurial (by necessity), as Higgs et al. suggest ?some occupations naturally have substantially higher numbers of self-employed people such as ?Artists? with 91% self-employment? (Higgs, Cunningham, & Bakhshi, 2008, p. 94). The study captures the career histories of a cohort of fine art graduates, all of whom had graduated at the same time (1994), from the same institution. Taking a narrative approach, detailed career stories were obtained. The relationship to and tensions surrounding entrepreneurship and artistic practice were explored in detail. While artistic identity emerges as a strong force for this group, artistic identity and entrepreneurial identity are sometimes at odds with each other. The practicalities of making a living as an artist, arguably, call for entrepreneurial activity. However, the findings suggest that this presents a conflict for some artists, both aesthetically and emotionally. This chapter explores what this means in the context of cultural value, and cultural value as a ?lens? for understanding an artist?s career.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationExploring Cultural Value: Contemporary Issues for Theory and Practice
    EditorsKim Lehman, Ian Fillis, Mark Wickham
    PublisherEmerald Publishing
    Number of pages14
    ISBN (Print)9781789735161
    Publication statusPublished (VoR) - 21 Jan 2021


    • Artists; creative industries; identity; entrepreneurship; cultural value; artist careers


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