Sep 29, 2014

Call for Contributions PARSE Journal Issue #2

PARSE Journal supports an innovative and multidisciplinary research culture in the arts (including music, performing arts, art, design, architecture, literature, film and media) through publishing original artistic research;

creating dialogues and promoting collaborations between researchers in the arts and in other disciplines; and through bringing together different modes of artistic enquiry within an open peer review framework. PARSE Journal is one strand of activity hosted by the PARSE research platform of the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

We invite submissions from all fields and disciplines. Contributions are invited in the form of text or media. 

The deadline for full articles is February 11, 2015, however we recommend early submission.

Proposals should be sent to editor Jason E. Bowman:

IMPORTANT: In the headline of your mail, please indicate PARSE Journal Issue #2.

For more information about PARSE, PARSE Journal, Peer Review and Submission Please visit:


The Value of Contemporary Art

Editors: Jason E. Bowman, Suhail Malik, Andrea Phillips

It's now a truism that the contemporary art market plays a fundamental role in the commissioning and display of contemporary art outside of the market (be it through patronage or in the informal subsidizing of the public sector).  The privatisation of art’s financing is complex and cannot be separated from either the modes of speculation currently dominant in global economics nor the ways in which artists, curators, and critics are educated and professionalised. Identification, analysis, and responses to such a condition are severely hampered by the lack of publicly available systemic and formal information. 

This example of the centrality of art’s market to its public dissemination impacts not simply upon artists’ support structures but also upon the ways in which their work is multiply valued. Measurement of any value (cultural, aesthetic or monetary) in the arts has been at best occasional, anecdotal, and disparate. Indeed, proposals to introduce systemic analysis and measurement into contemporary art are often treated with suspicion by those who oppose art's regulation as yet another infringement of accountability to metrics that, in turn, deny the idea that art’s value is unmeasurable. Production in other artistic disciplines – theatre, music, dance, design – have differently organised financial support systems, but all rely on the idea of intrinsic cultural value, and all are affected by the on-going decreases in public funding in Europe and the US over the last four decades that previously upheld the non-measurability of artistic value. How does this economic and subjective transformation affect concepts of value in the arts and how might making transparent arts’ financing change these concepts of value?

Ongoing and historically embedded privatisations of financial knowledge do not simply affect artistic production but the fields that support and work in parallel to it. How does the informal model of value-measurement within the arts sector produce the conditions that are in themselves marketised by the greater cultural economy? What and where are alternative or complementary methods of non-economic value creation being rehearsed? How do such disputed measurements of value affect artistic research, a field that is itself often criticised as a containment and academicisation of artistic creativity? Academic research funding in Europe is increasingly governed by metrics; how does this system contrast with the usually informal structure of patronage in the arts? What emerges as a market for humanities and design research through the academic pursuit of entrepreneurial and business models? How does the apparent conflict of the qualitative with the quantitative affect how artists - and those who think about them – measure up in determining the qualification of value of art?

Debate on the qualitative as an alternative means by which to recognise, produce and describe emphasis on non-metricised modes of value creation and perception has led to consideration of how qualitative methodologies may suggest different ways to think through and evidence value and values. These have focussed on means to attend to and describe the experiential within contemporary art, its production, circulation and display including within artistic research processes. The qualitative has become implicated also in debates regarding relational, participatory, communitarian, activist and educational initiatives that engage with expanded notions of transaction between different disciplines, practices and between artists and ‘non-artists.’

This issue of PARSE welcomes contributions which aim to:

(i)   provide analyses of the complexity of how the contemporary art market meaningfully shapes value from the perspective of artists, curators, dealers and institution directors;

(ii)  consider methodologies of funding and resourcing of other cultural spheres of production; music, theatre, film, design;

(iii)  consider whether and how systemic accounts and metrics could be used as a tool to make value generation more transparent;

(iv)  investigate how these conditions are shaped socially, historically and geopolitically;

(v)  consider alternative financial, value-creation and transactional models to the impact of economic structures that artists and art organisers are developing;

(vi)  consider the interface of the qualitative and quantitative and its relations to the heuristic amidst the experiential economy.


Project Manager
PARSE - Platform for Artistic Research Sweden
Faculty of Fine, Applied and Performing Arts
University of Gothenburg, Sweden
Tel. + 46 (0)31 786 63 14