Negotiating a shared language of value in the arts (2018)

Harvey, L., Godwin, L., 2018, Negotiating a shared language of value in the arts, RMIT University, Agile Opera Project, viewed June 26 2018, <>


Conceptualising value is an uncomfortable—perhaps insolvable—yet essential problem inherent in the creative industries. A conversation about value in the arts and humanities is quickly destabilised by the question “But, what does ‘value’ mean?”

Value in the creative industries is associated with the worth, benefit or impact of an object, action or practice. In the early decades of the technologically transformed 21st century, value has become linked with a managerial approach which, seeking to collect data that can be translated into metrics, evaluates and reports on the performance of funded arts companies. This approach creates forces more concerned with short-term value conversion than long-term value creation. And so, the sector finds itself debating the merits of metric-based, and technology-driven, evaluative approaches that reduce the essence of creativity to a series of descriptions on a ‘scorecard’. Within this managerial paradigm, value is a human, fragile and contestable condition of survival.

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