Author: crnmanager

Virtual Study Group: Decolonizing Public Arts Funding – March 29/30 2021

Description: How might existing public arts funding models be decolonized? What alternative processes might better support Indigenous self-determination and cultural sovereignty? And what are the possible impacts of decolonized public arts funding models on Indigenous arts and culture? Featuring Canadian and Australian case studies, at the national and local government level, this VSG tackled some of the practical and conceptual issues inherent to this highly contemporary… Read more →

Creative Equity and Decolonising Creative Practice in Asia

Date:  Friday 29th,  January 2021Calcutta: 9:30 AM – 10:30 AMJakarta: 11:00 AM – 12:00 PMSingapore: 12:00 – 1:00pmAEDT (NSW, ACT, Victoria, Tasmania): 3.00-4.00pm This virtual study group (VSG) focussed on work related to creative equity and the decolonization of creative practice in Asia. Description:  How does the language of diversity, equity and inclusion translate into arts and cultural policy across Asia? What does… Read more →

Cultural Research Network Call for Steering Committee Nominations

From October 30th – November 20th, 2020 the Cultural Research Network (CRN) is inviting nominations to form its 2021 Steering Committee. About the Cultural Research Network  We are an open resource-sharing community of practice for anyone involved in culture-related research. Our network emphasizes the practice and process of current research, and the opportunities to inform that active work among peers, academics, and… Read more →

Virtual Study Group: Virtual Study Group: Equitable Evaluation, Culture, and Systems Change

Tue 24 November 2020, 4pm EDT: Toronto/New YorkWed 25 November 2020. 8am AEST: Sydney / 10am Auckland Description: This event investigated how equitable evaluation and systems evaluation, together, might provide a new approach to assess the impacts of an expanded role for the arts and creative placemaking in systemic, social change. What are the areas of productive overlap between these two… Read more →

Decolonizing Evaluation: An in-depth look into equitable evaluation work with First Nations communities

This virtual study group (VSG) focused on efforts related to decolonizing evaluation. Tue 27 October 2020, 6pm EDT: Toronto/New YorkWed 28 October 2020. 9am AEST: Sydney / 11am Auckland Description: What has been written on First Nations methods of evaluation? What are the case studies or projects where decolonization of evaluation has been developed and tried? Is decolonization of evaluation even… Read more →

July 2020

1. Steven Hadley and Clive Gray. Cultural Trends 26:2. “Hyperinstrumentalism and Cultural Policy: Means to an End or an End to Meaning?” 2017. United Kingdom.

This paper investigates the implications for cultural policy of the logic of the instrumental view of culture taken to its conclusion.

2. Eleanora Belfiore. Cultural Trends 26:3. “Cultural Policy Research in the Real World: Curating ‘Impact,’ Facilitating ‘Enlightenment.” 2016. United KIngdom.

This article argues that policy relevance and influence represent legitimate goals of critical research, which does not necessarily mean accepting the pressures and restrictions of arts advocacy and lobbying, or the relinquishing research excellence.

3. Arlene Goldbard. U.S. Department of Arts and Culture. “Standing for Cultural Democracy: The USDAC’s Policy and Action Platform Summary.” 2016. United States.

In this platform, the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture describes ten ways to advance toward cultural democracy, a social order which embodies and affirms the right to culture in every aspect of our public and private policies.

4. District of Columbia Office of Planning. “DC Cultural Plan: Executive Summary.” 2019. United States.

The Cultural Plan establishes a framework to inclusively grow the District’s cultural community informed by the Office of Planning’s experience in community development, land use, systems planning, public facilities and infrastructure

5. Hilda L. Solis and Sheila Kuehl. Los Angeles County Arts Commission. “Adoption of the Countywide Cultural Policy.” 2020. United States.

This is a motion from the LA County Arts Commission for adoption of a county-wide cultural policy.

6. Jennifer Craik. ANU Press. “How Can Cultural Sub-Sectors Respond?: Three Indicative Case Studies.” 2007. Australia.

This chapter examines some sub-sectors that have challenged prevailing policy approaches to the management of culture.

7. Government of Western Australia Department of Culture and the Arts. “Indigenous Arts and Culture Action Plan 2012-2014.” 2014. Australia.

A growing number of Indigenous artists are sharing their significant stories through artistic mediums. The Department of Culture and the Arts supports this sector as part of its vision for a community enriched by unique and transforming arts and culture.

Comparative Policy of the Response to COVID-19

This virtual study group (VSG) focused on how COVID-19 has disrupted arts and culture research and policy. Date: June 17, 2020 CRN hosted two VSGs over two days. Diversity/Equity/Inclusion and COVID-19: Options for Cultural Research and Public Funding occurred on June 16th. Purpose Cultural researchers, arts agencies, arts organizations, and artists around the globe are grappling with the COVID-19 crisis,… Read more →

Diversity/Equity/Inclusion and COVID-19: Options for Cultural Research and Public Funding

This virtual study group (VSG) focused on how COVID-19 has disrupted arts and culture research and policy.

Date: Tuesday, June 16, 2020

CRN hosted two VSGs over two days. Comparative Policy of the Response to COVID-19 occurred on June 17th.


Cultural researchers, arts agencies, arts organizations, and artists around the globe are grappling with the COVID-19 crisis, how it is affecting the arts field now, and how it will change the future of the field. As an international forum for cultural research practices, CRN is convening the collective brain power of the network to discuss topics relevant to the crisis. Objectives for this conversation are to allow for shared learning, to understand challenges, to share relevant research, and to provide ideas for future research.

This session explored how cultural research and data sources can help public arts agencies make the case for equitable, sustained cultural funding in the post-COVID-19 economy.  What do we know now, where are gaps in knowledge, what do we need to track during/post COVID, to what extent are arts inequities unique and/or reflect larger systems?  How is DEI prioritized in COVID-related arts policy responses, and to what ends?

The session was moderated by David Pankratz (Creative Sector Research). Holly Sidford (Helicon Collaborative), Pam Breaux (National Assembly of State Arts Agencies) will join David and attendees in bringing their perspectives and questions to the conversation as discussants.


Please view notes from the discussion here.


Panel Bios

Pam Beaux joined the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA) in 2015. As president and CEO, she works with the association’s board of directors and staff to advance NASAA’s policy and programmatic mission to strengthen America’s state and jurisdictional arts agencies. A native of Lafayette, Louisiana, Pam has held leadership positions at the local, state and national levels. While in Louisiana state government, she was secretary of the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism (CRT), assistant secretary of CRT (overseeing its cultural development portfolio), and executive director of its state arts agency (the Louisiana Division of the Arts). During her time at CRT, Pam developed and led Louisiana’s cultural economy initiative and spearheaded the successful UNESCO inscription of Poverty Point State Historic Site (an ancient Indian site) as a World Heritage site. 

David Pankratz retired recently as Research & Policy Director for the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council after a 35-year career in research and evaluation in arts policy, advocacy, and management.  Topics of recent research are racial equity and arts funding, impacts of the arts, and individual artists, while his co-edited books include The Arts in a New Millennium.  David also held senior positions for EmcArts, The Independent Commission on the NEA, and the J. Paul Getty Trust.  He has taught for Carnegie Mellon University and earned his Ph.D. in Arts Policy and Administration from The Ohio State University.       

Holly Sidford is Co-Director of Helicon Collaborative, a national consulting firm that works with artists, cultural organizations, foundations and other creative enterprises to make communities better places for all people – more vital, adaptive and just.  Helicon focuses on three themes central to healthy communities:  equity, sustainability and beauty. Holly has 30 years’ experience leading cultural and philanthropic organizations and is nationally recognized for her work in expanding access to arts and culture, enhancing support for artists, and building organizations’ strategic capacity. Before starting Helicon, Holly was the founding President of Leveraging Investments in Creativity (LINC), a ten-year national initiative to improve support systems for artists. She has held leadership positions at Ford Foundation, The Howard Gilman Foundation, New England Foundation for the Arts and Massachusetts Council on the Arts and Humanities.  

May 2020

1. Yasmin Anwar. UC Berkley. “COVID-19: Mental health and well-being for ourselves and our children.” 2020. United States.

In this webcast of Berkeley Conversations: COVID-19, UC Berkeley psychologists Dacher Keltner, Sonia Bishop and Frank Worrell offered advice on how to tackle COVID-19 stress, based on their specific areas of research, mental health data and proven therapeutic interventions.

2. Cath Neal. Cultural Trends, Vol 24. “Know Your Place? Evaluating the Therapeutic Benefits of Engagement with Historic Landscapes.” 2015. United Kingdom.

This paper emphasises the restorative power of engagement with natural/cultural environments by exploring a body of work that identifies the positive impact of the historic environment on the health and well-being of community archaeology participants.

3. Daisy Fancourt and Saoirse Finn. World Health Organization. “What is the Evidence on the Role of the Arts in Improving Health and Well-Being? A scoping review.” 2019. Europe.

This report aims to increase awareness of the effects of the arts on health on wellbeing by mapping the current available evidence in the field of arts and health.

4. Alan Tomlinson, et al. What Works Centre for Wellbeing. “Visual Arts, Mental Health and Wellbeing: Evidence Review.” 2018. United Kingdom.

This review looks at the subjective, or self-reported, wellbeing outcomes of visual arts projects aimed at adults who are experiencing, or have experienced, diagnosed mental health conditions.

5. Heather L. Stuckey and Jeremy Nobel. American Journal of Public Health, Vol 100 No 2. “The Connection Between Art, Healing, and Public Health: A Review of Current Literature.” 2010. United States.

This review explores the relationship between engagement with the creative arts and health outcomes, specifically the health effects of music engagement, visual arts therapy, movement-based creative expression, and expressive writing.

Contagious Cities: Facing and Understanding the Pandemic

Are we ready to face the global challenge of Covid-19 pandemic outbreak? Do we know how microbes, migration and metropolises cohabitate or relate to each other? Can we tap into the artistic and cultural creativity to better understand the global infectious diseases or even investigate how they travel across urban and human borders?

The VSG discussed these questions in a live conversation with artists, curators, researchers and cultural producers of the Contagious Cities. This international cultural project was developed by Wellcome Trust in 2018 to mark the centenary of the 1918 flu pandemic that infected a third of the world’s population and killed 50 million people. The VSG will share important insights from the Contagious Cities project, that brought together international curators, artists and scientists through residences across New York, Hong Kong and Geneva to explore how epidemics spread in urban environments.

What do we hope to achieve?

The VSG aims to inform and educate a wider community of cultural researchers, artists, academics and creative workers on the key questions of pandemic diseases to share support and solidarity in the midst of the global spread of the Covid-19. It intends to expose and promote a creative and artistic intake on the crucial issues of the pandemic physical, social and cultural impacts upon urban communities. 

The Panelists

  • Moderator: Dr Natalia Grincheva
  • Ken Arnold – Creative Director at Wellcome (London, UK)
  • Sarah Henry – Chief Curator and Deputy Director at the Museum of the City of New York (New York, USA)
  • Ying Kwok  – Curator of Contagious Cities: Far Away, Too Close at Tai Kwun Contemporary (Hong Kong, China)
  • Matt Adams – Co-founder of Blast Theory (London, UK)
  • Dr James Doeser – Freelance cultural researcher (London, UK)
  • Ken Arnold – Creative Director at Wellcome (London, UK)

Suggested Pre-Reading:

1918 influenza: the mother of all pandemics

These are the best run cities in the world

WHO Healthy Cities


Contagious Cities (radio series) 

A strange new world? Not really

Mariam Ghani on her film Dis-ease

Blast Theory’s blog on pandemics and public health

Sarah in Intelligencer

The Lancet: COVID-19 and the anti-lessons of history 

New Statesman – The contagious power of fear: why some believe that panic is a virus