Culture, Democracy, and the Arts: Rights Here, Right Now

  • What strategic and policy approaches promote cultural democracy and how do they affect the arts?
  • Does public funding for the arts promote inclusivity or elitism?
  • What are the implications of a creative industries workforce dominated by the middle classes?
  • How will the rise of campaigns against sexual harassment, pay gaps and other inequalities change the status quo?
  • Does meritocracy address inequality or promote it?

The STP&A 2018 Conference invites debates on the theories and practices of cultural democracy. Prompted by recent societal anxieties and political turmoil, where terms such as ‘big society’, ‘machine learning’ and ‘fake news’ have heightened and confused the stakes in participation, representation, and governance, STP&A 2018 provides a platform for debate on power relations and inequalities in the arts.

In the hyper-mediated, globalized contemporary society, we need time to reflect and refresh the possibilities of and for cultural democracy and ask what it means in the 21st century. The conference, therefore, aims to bring together key thinkers, researchers, and practitioners to consider the relevance of cultural democracy to cultural policy today. It will critically explore the basis which arts and creativity offers for social participation, representation and change both historically and in contemporary society, consider the forms of governance which constrain and promote freedom in cultural expression, and provide a platform for a wide range of disciplinary exchanges and interdisciplinary approaches.

Papers are encouraged which can address the following questions and themes:

  • What role do the arts and creative sectors have in promoting democratic representation and resisting structures which inhibit democracy?
  • How are the models and definitions of cultural democracy linked to broader social structures of feeling, historical inference, and place?
  • What forms of democratic processes govern policies for the arts and creative industries currently?
  • What can we learn from historical understandings of proponents of cultural democracy?
  • How has technology shifted the balance in citizen representation, participation, and power?
  • How do these differ by locality or context? Are cultural democratic processes best promoted regional, nationally or globally?
  • How can arts and cultural policy challenge barriers to social mobility and inequality to rediscover cultural democracy?

Proposals are due by April 15, 2018.

Submissions will be accepted from March 15 – April 15, 2018. Proposals will be accepted for papers, panels, workshops, performance-based research, and roundtable discussions.

Paper Proposal
(A 15-minute presentation in a session with other paper presenters.)

Paper proposals may take one of two forms: research or scholarly papers.

Research (or data-driven) papers present the results of quantitative, qualitative, or mixed methods studies or report the findings of studies that use historical or philosophical methods. These studies are based on original data collection or secondary data analysis.

Research paper proposals should describe studies that are fairly mature both conceptually and methodologically, ideally with some preliminary data analysis and findings that are suggestive of the impact and significance of the research. The final paper should be a complete discussion of finalized data analysis and findings.

Scholarly (or non-data-driven) papers are essays that present well-developed arguments on philosophical, theoretical, or practical problems in the study of the arts. They are not required to adhere to an empirical research design (e.g., methods, data collection, and data analysis). Rather, scholarly papers pose critical questions, synthesize divergent bodies of literature, or elaborate new theoretical or conceptual frameworks.

Final papers may be submitted to the Journal of Arts Management, Law, and Society for consideration in the special STP&A issue.

Panel Proposal
(A 45-minute panel which consists of 3-4 panelists in a singular session.)

In a panel, the session organizers are proposing a complete session that consists of three to four research or scholarly papers that address a particular topic.

Workshop Proposal
(A 60-minute or 120-minute session that offers hands-on activities for the participants.)

A workshop is a hands-on session that features interaction between and among the presenter(s) and the audience to advance knowledge of a particular issue or research problem.

Workshops should be designed to be 60 minutes in length. However, you may include a Part I and Part II if you wish to have a 2-hour workshop (with a break between the two).

Performance-Based Research Proposal
(Research presented through performance.)

Performance-based research projects may take the form of art, music, dance, spoken word, or theatrical performance. Proposals should describe how they relate to the conference theme.

Roundtable Discussion
(Lead a 45-minute discussion based on a topic.)

Roundtables provide an opportunity for scholars to share information regarding their research in an informal, conversational format with interested persons. Accepted proposals will be assigned to a numbered table in a large meeting room. Roundtable chair will facilitate participation, but there will be no formal presentations. Given the informal structure of the roundtable, no audiovisual equipment will be provided.