Project Details


The overarching objective of this project is to explore the potential of the arts to inspire new, more empathetic and inclusive conceptualisations of control within arts organisations.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on arts organisations across Europe, exacerbating the already vulnerable position of a sector characterised by difficult access to finance, fragile organisational structures and working practices. While policymakers and institutions have provided short-term emergency support to contain the effects of the crisis, the long-term survival of many arts organisations remains at risk.

Arts organisations rest on multiple tensions between artistic and managerial concerns and values. Management is associated with the pursuit of rationality, calculation and control whereas art is seen to rely primarily on imagination, freedom and creativity. Prior research has shown that, when managerial values clash with artistic concerns, the managerial perspective tends to prevail, crowding-out artistic outcomes, processes and sensibilities. These studies have emphasised that control practices cannot capture the value of the arts: with their emphasis on surplus/loss and efficiency, traditional accounting practices exclude alternative schemes of value and control ideals.

The arts organisations’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic offers a unique opportunity to theorise how management control may align with the unique characteristics and sensibilities that animate arts organisations.

This project has been awarded seedcorn funding from the Management Control Association (MCA).
Effective start/end date1/03/22 → …