The Artist in the Room: An investigation of the independent artist as stakeholder in the decision-making of subsidised theatre in the UK Delivered at 3rd International Conference, CAMEo Institute, University of Leicester
Activity: Talk or presentation types › Invited talk
This paper reports research on the role of artists in decision-making in UK subsidised theatre and proposes radical change through collaboration as a solution to concerns of precarity, representation and inequality. The study offers insight into the impasse inbuilt in the norms, leadership and policy mechanisms of professional subsidised theatre. Applying stakeholder theory to the role of artist, it finds an unethical rationality has formed within the inter-stakeholder relationships between public policymakers, organisational leaders, and independent freelance artists, a rationality from which none can exit. This rationality normalises the devaluation of art-making and artists. Radical change is needed to address complex compromised interdependencies, and the implicit dominance of public policy and NPM (with its ‘professionalisation’ agenda) on sector norms. It may be desirable to see a wholesale dismantling of publicly subsidised organisational and policy systems but this study suggests the interdependencies at play mean change cannot be achieved without some collaboration between existing players.