Cultural Value Networks Research Findings
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
The research aimed to produce the first iteration of a multi-criteria method for articulating cultural value. This evaluative methodology should support cultural organisations by having appropriate ways to understand the value they produce and its relationship to money.
The project evaluated the multiple economy approach to understanding cultural value and its relation to the money economy developed by Sharpe and the International Futures Forum (2010).
Based on this approach and our evidence the five methodological foundations that emerge are:
‘Value’ is not a singular concept, and there is not only one scale against which everything can be measured. Different agents within an ecosystem experience value differently, food for one might be poison for another. Value is contingent and constantly recreated within interactions and relationships. Our evidence reveals such a complex set of valuing practices in action.
The Value Constellation (Normann & Ramirez 1993, Ramirez 1999) is an organisational model for talking about value creation achieved by co-production in a web of interactions. This highlights the intentional role of the focal organisation (in this case PM Studio) in orchestrating diversity of value creation. The value constellation model sits within a multi-level perspective in which eco- system models can be used for the wider context.
Once we abandon the idea that there is just ‘the’ economy of money, we can apply economic thinking to other patterns of valuing. Cultural organisations that are not (only) businesses are creating value in economies other than money. By keeping “money at the margins” it is possible to expand the space available for these other patterns to thrive, and also to create money downstream in the ‘conventional’ economy.
Measuring value can be considered a "pharmakon" (following Bernard Stiegler) for creating value – a poison and a remedy at the same time. The same applies to value circulation. We found that in PM Studio value circulation takes place as part of sustaining a gift economy. This gift economy takes a triangular form, which includes and produces a knowledge commons and generalised generosity. As such, it does not blockade value creation, but stimulates and drives it further. It provides the base for a what we analyse as an "economy of contribution".
We have developed a way to understand how this economy of contribution works as an effective model of value articulation, creation and circulation.
This report is published by the DCRC for the AHRC Connected Communities scheme under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivative license.