The Future of Cultural Work and (Feminist) Cultural Practice

Round Table

The current debate in economic and political theory points to the cultural sector's model function for the neo-liberal, globalised economy. Creativity, mobility, flexibility, precarious living conditions, as well as project-based, fluid forms of production and organisation have - to an extent - always characterised the artist's living and working conditions. Therefore, it seems that current economic changes (privatisation and the downsizing of public sector institutions, reduced assistance for programme development) and the resulting commercialisation, meet less resistance in the cultural field than in other sectors of society. The ideal worker in post-industrial society therefore might be the artist.
This 'model worker', however, is more likely a woman than a man: in recent years, the cultural labour market has been expanding all over Europe, mainly because of more women working in these fields. Women occupy a distinctively larger proportion of such jobs/positions, which are flexible, provide less security, and lower net overall incomes. Women also do more voluntary work than men.

The resulting questions would be: how do we, as (women) artists, producers and organisers, deal with this shift in the meaning of creativity "from a liberation program to an employment profile" (Marion von Osten, How do we continue to produce in creative and flexible conditions, without advocating the neo-liberal system? Which are the best strategies for promoting and enabling a diversity of non-mainstream artistic expression in an increasingly commercialised cultural environment? How do we see the future of cultural work, and critical cultural practices in the context of 'festivalisation' of culture, and declining support for independent, politicised cultural projects, which advocate access and the visibility of women and ethnic/racialised minorities in Europe?

On the occasion of its 10th anniversary, the City of Women has invited producers, artists, curators and authors, engaged in likeminded projects, to create or curate a part of the festival programme and/or to reflect on the future strategies of critical cultural production.
Bettina Knaup

Katy Deepwell (GB), editor of the feminist art journal n.paradoxa and Head of Research Training, University of the Arts, London
Eleni Laperi (Albania), coordinator of Lindart, Cultural Centre of Women Artists of Albania
Suzana Milevska (Macedonia), curator and art and visual culture theorist, Museum of the City of Skopje
Nirmal Puwar (GB), Goldsmith College, London; Member of Feminist Review editorial collective
Laurence Rassel (Belgium), director of Constant vzw and coordinator of the Digitales art and training program on women and new technologies
Karen Wong (Canada), curator and coordinator of HTMlles, an international women's media arts festival, Montreal, Canada

Organisation: City of Women
In collaboration with: Office for Equal Opportunities, Cankarjev dom


Date and time of event: 
Oct 04th
Place of event: 
Cankarjev dom