Laboratory Adelaide: selected works

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    Numbers, schnumbers: total cultural value and talking about everything that we do, even culture
    (Emerald Publishing Group, 2015-06-15) Meyrick, Julian
    The purpose of this paper is to argue for the importance of separating out three key dimensions of culture’s value – definition, measurement and cultural reporting. This has implications for the balance between quantitative and qualitative methodologies in achieving a meaningful context for interpreting numbers-based cultural data, as well as for the management of reporting regimes – the process by which value is “conferred” – by individual cultural organisations and events. It concludes with a brief sketch of a new set of priorities for assessment processes based on a less unitized, more cooperative understanding of cultural value (a Total Cultural Value exercise) Design/methodology/approach – This paper is a keynote address from the Global Events Congress. Findings – Valuation processes are comparative processes. They involve benchmarking, standardisation, unitisation and ranking. Cultural activities have an incommensurable aspect that makes them resist this kind of assessment and not infrequently make a nonsense of it. This makes it difficult for policy makers to choose between them from a resource perspective. No new proof of worth is going to change this fundamental characteristic of culture. A Total Cultural Value exercise is “allocutionary” and helps cultural programmes “make a case” based on best use of the available data and a meta-cognitive appreciation of the biases different proofs of worth involve. Originality/value – Total Cultural Value is a new concept developed to bring quantitative and qualitative methods for valuing arts and culture together.
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    Cultural value vs culture's value
    (Emerald Publishing Group, 2015) Meyrick, Julian ; Barnett, Tully Sarah
    The problem of culture’s value is assayed by David Throsby in his seminal book Economics and Culture when he puts forward the proposition “the economic impulse is individualistic, the cultural impulse is collective”. This proposition asserts, first, that there is behaviour which can be termed “economic” which reflects individual goals and which is portrayed in the standard model of an economy comprising self-interested individual consumers seeking to maximise their utility and self-interested producers seeking to maximise their profits […] secondly, that there is behaviour, distinguishable from economic behaviour […] which can be termed “cultural”; such behaviour reflects collective as distinct from individualistic goals, and derives from the nature of culture as expressing the beliefs, aspirations and identification of a group as defined above. Thus the cultural impulse can be seen as a desire for group experience or for collective production or consumption that cannot be fully factored out to the individuals comprising the group […] Whatever the artistic products produced and consumed, the processes of producing and consuming them can be seen not only as individual enterprise, but also as expressions of a collective will which transcends that of the individual participants involved.