Issue 48

Common wisdom teaches us that change is life’s only constant (Artist as Leader) and change is certainly constant in the world of arts and culture research and practice. For us at the Digest, it has brought complete renewal, switching from paper copy and supporting online archives, to an exclusive online service, which will continue to blossom with new features and functions throughout the spring. It has also meant a new staffing structure, with me, Ann Winter taking over from Nessa O’Mahoney as editor, and the departure of Annie Livesey as our executive director.

Reflecting on some of the changes currently affecting our sector, we considered loosely focusing issue 48 on both digitalisation (Insight and Exchange; Time to Play; Digital Britain Final Report; Digital Music Survey) and youth (Youth Voice in the Work of the Creative Partnerships; Creating Better Outcomes for Children and Young People; Get It). Throughout our review of recent research across a diverse range of interests within our sector, however, another theme kept recurring: that of localness (Creating Better Outcomes for Children and Young People; Youth Voice; Artist as Leader; Get it; Digital Britain), and community-generated events, organisations and projects (Cornerstones of Communities: Museums Transforming Societies; Youth Voice; Creating Better Outcomes).

Revolutions are noted for smashing up old systems faster than they can be replaced (Digital Britain); thereby exposing, in the interim stage, the roots, supports and organic fibres of what went before. In the cases of both digitalisation and the re-shaping of funding bodies across the sector (Impact of the Recession: A Survey of Scottish Arts Council Funded Organisations; Creative Industries Key Sector Report), the shake-up has revealed the power of genuine local engagement to withstand economic crisis.

Focusing on the ‘local’ also marks a decisive move away from the centralising drive of the imperialistic age, towards a more dynamic, responsive model of organisation and engagement. In business terms, this has been most dramatically noticeable in retail and distribution markets (It’s Time to Play; Digital Britain). The Artist as Leader presents research which challenges both traditional assumptions about leadership and the modern ethos of arts management qualifications, and sets out case studies that examine different creative strategies and tactics observed in artists’ practice that could inform new models of business practice.

We hope the work selected for issue 48 of Arts Research Digest is interesting, prescient and inspiring for all our subscribers.

Arts Research Digest has a wide, international readership both among higher education institutions, individual researchers, public bodies and professional organisations in the cultural sector. We would like to invite submissions of research reports via our website, and nominations for our ‘Featured Profile’ portal on our home page.  We would also like to offer a seven day trial period to prospective subscribers who are keen to test out the services we offer.

We are always happy to receive comments or feedback from our readers and website users which may help us improve our service.

Ann Winter
Arts Research Digest

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