Call for Papers: The Performing Arts and the Film Industry through Sustainable Development


Universit̩s Lumi̬re Lyon 2, Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3, Bourgogne Franche-Comt̩ РESC Dijon-CEREN

Paris (Th̢̩tre de la Cit̩ Internationale) Р8th-10th of March 2017

Call for papers 

The recent introduction of the notions of “sustainability” and “sustainable development” into fields of cultural and artistic practice is a phenomenon that demands our attention.   The interest in sustainability signals the emergence of a new paradigm–at once economic/political and aesthetic/philosophical– a paradigm that is worth examining and developing more thoroughly.

The roots of such a new paradigm of “sustainable culture” can be found in the many discourses justifying public funding for culture that have accumulated and cross-pollinated ever since the 1950s (Menger 2011). The dominant paradigm during the 1960s suggested that the general population (including neophytes) could receive aesthetic acculturation through direct exposure to what was deemed to be the most excellent, aesthetically “high brow” offerings (Throsby and Withers, 1979; Urfalino, 1996). This paradigm of cultural democratization was then contested, due to its failure to effectively reduce the sociodemographic inequalities of the different populations targeted (Bourdieu et Darbel, 1966; Baumol, Bowen, 1966).

At the same time, an alternative ideal of cultural democracy sought to legitimize the diversification of funding by public organizations of cultural activities that went outside  the parameters of “high” culture. This paradigm was informed by an anthropological, relativist vision of cultures as diverse, each possessing its own aesthetic values. Cultural organizations accorded artistic recognition to alternative forms of expression (such as the work of amateurs, of street art, circus, urban dance, and so on). The cultural democracy- oriented paradigm interacted with a growing international interest in the conditions of sustainable development, from Brundlant report (1987) to the Unesco Declaration on cultural diversity (2001, 2005), the foundation of United Cities and Local Governments for cultural development (Agenda 21 for culture), and Fribourg Declaration on Cultural Rights (2007).

Finally, there emerged a third paradigm, the doctrine of the “creative industries,” circulated from the 1990s on. This paradigm sought to marry multiculturalism (the recognition of the cultural value of “minority arts”) with an economic impetus: the dynamism of cultural activity was seen to constitute a motor of economic development, stimulating numerous profitable innovations in the other economic sectors. None of these paradigms shifts, however, has questioned the fundamental manner in which public funds are distributed nationally according to what is deemed to be artistic merit.

The goal of this conference is to interrogate the links that have been established between the performance arts, cinema, and sustainable development. To what extent are the notions of sustainability and sustainable development relevant for analysing artistic and cultural practices?

Following COST typology (2015), the links between performing arts, the film industry and sustainable development can be discussed from three different perspectives:

  • the performing arts and the film industry in sustainable development. In this case, the focus of study is the arts within a framework that refers to culture as yet another activity (similar to economic, social, and environmental activities) leading to sustainable development, especially by recognising the equal dignity of cultures (Hawkes, 2001; Lucas, 2010) or the heritage value of local objects and cultural practices (Boltanski, Esquerre, 2014);
  • the performing arts and the film industry for sustainable development. These artistic practices contribute–via the production and sales of performances–to other activities (economic, social, environmental) leading to sustainable development: they might, for instance, reduce the environmental footprint by enhancing stakeholders’ incentive to meet the ISO 20121 standard (Herry, 2014); consolidate the social cohesion with artistic forms of expression reflecting the cultural diversity of the population (Wallach, 2006; Goldbard, 2010; Throsby, 2014); or stimulate positive economic returns, such as in cases where they cause an increase in territorial attractiveness and economic innovation (as in the reference framework of ‘creative industries’). Contributions in this area may take an aesthetic or/and philosophical approach: certain artists treat sustainable development as a theme or in terms of a dramatic plot; here, the stage can become a space for reflecting on and even promoting a militant position;
  • the performing arts and the film industry as sustainable development. The process of co- construction in which the world of the arts enters into more solid relations with other sustainability projects manifests itself most notably: 1) when a more equal collaboration among professional and non-professional artists is valorised (Urrutiaguer, 2014) ; 2) in experiments that reconfigure performance and cinematic arts by developing links of solidarity, both within and between organizations, in order to address a context of recurrent economic insecurity. This precariousness, which impacts negatively the lives of artists, is often hidden by those who militate for federating democratic cultures (Henry, 2015). This second practice urges greater cooperation among players such that resources may be more equitably

We suggest the following axes of reflexion:

1. Conventions and doctrines of cultural action 

How did the rationales justifying public cultural expenses change in the different State- nations so that cultural diversity is now taken into account more frequently? What are the links between cultural diversity and sustainable development? To what extent are  references to a new paradigm, assessing culture in terms of sustainability, modifying priorities in the institutional valuation of artistic production?

The sociologic analysis of domination may be based on the “grammar of political and moral justification” of different “worlds” or “cities” (Boltanski, Thévenot, 1991). Can we characterize the “grammar of political and moral justification” of a “world of culturally sustainable development”? What are the conflicts with other logics of action and valuation, especially from the market world or the artistic inspiration world?

2. Dynamics of sharing artistic creations

Artistic creations that emphasize sharing or collaboration are aimed at creating more symmetrical relationships between artists and non-professionals. Shared creations are orientated differently, from the minimal vision of amateurs’ inclusion in a professional cast to the egalitarian pooling of artistic and cultural competences. To what extent is this relational dynamic connected to the culturally sustainable development?

What are the positive effects and the limits of sharing-oriented performing arts or industry film-making on the participants’ personal development? How are the artistic teams positioning themselves between the public authorities’ social inclusive goals and the political critics of the social order?

What are the effects of artist-as-scholar residencies that have attempted to engage the students and the staff members in an egalitarian process of co-construction? What are the obstacles to longer stays for artists?

What kind of initiatives are being developed to get attendants involved in creating some reflexivity between producing or programming (performing arts or films) and extending  the groups’ life time?

3. Solidarity and economic sustainability in the performing arts and the film industry 

Sharing-oriented creations are usually appraised for their social-added value and not for their aesthetic qualities. Given that the market-oriented and the institutional-oriented logics of action and valuation base the valuation of their products on the ludic and aesthetic qualities of performing arts and films, the corporative reputation and media renown of sharing-oriented creations are at a disadvantage. We can infer a systemic obstacle to the economic viability for the artistic teams involved in the ideals of culturally sustainable development. How are these performing arts companies and cinematographic enterprises proposing modes of cooperative solidarity to consolidate their economic sustainability?

Production offices are increasing in the performing arts. Some of them refer to the values  of the economics of solidarity. Will this logic of action strengthen the sustainability of both performing arts companies and administrative teams?

What are the instrumental or ideological motivations of the co-operative members who are sharing resources, competences or risks? What obstacles to their budgetary sustainability do they confront? What are the key success factors of collaborative business models? What can we learn from the analysis of emerging business models for cultural enterprises? (Spence et al., 2007; Sinapi, Juno-Delgado, 2015) The current debates regarding economic,

environmental and social dimensions of cultural sustainable entrepreneurship interrogate the different existing paradigms within the field of entrepreneurship (Dean et al., 2007 ; Sheperd et al., 2011).

4. The festivals in performing arts and cinema

The European Festivals Association plays three main roles: to favour the international circulation of artists, to support innovations, and to promote intercultural dialogue. To  what extent is promoting intercultural dialogue on local and international scales a condition sufficient to attract some festivals to the world of culturally sustainable development?

We suggest several areas of questioning with respect to the characteristics of festivals seeking to abet culturally sustainable development:

  • the initiatives for decreasing the environmental footprint, that are recurrent in music festivals (and significant also in the production and sales of performances;
  • the participative interactions with the local population;
  • the extent to which cultural diversity is taken into account in the structuration of festivals;
  • the partnerships with local cultural actors to decentralize the festival in the territory;
  • the cooperative relationships with the programmed artists, especially those who are unknown.


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Boltanski L.& L. Thévenot., Les économies de la grandeur, Paris, Gallimard, 1991. Boltanski L. & A. Esquerre, « La “collection”, une forme neuve du capitalisme. La mise en valeur économique du passé et ses effets », Les temps modernes, 679, 2014, p. 5-63, 2014. Bourdieu P. & A. Darbel, L’amour de l’art, Paris, Minuit, 1966.

Brundtland G.H. Our Common Future: Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development. New York: UNO, 1987.

COST, Culture in, for, as Sustainable Development, Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä University Press, 2015.

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Goldbard A., New creative community. The art of cultural development, Oakland, New Village Press, 2010, 1st edition 2006.

Hawkes J., The fourth pillar of sustainable development: Culture’s essential role in public planning, Melbourne, The Cultural Development Network, 2001.

Henry P., Un nouveau référentiel pour la culture ? Pour une économie coopérative de la diversité culturelle, Toulouse, L’attribut, 2014.

Herry J.-C., Le management responsable du spectacle. Comment intégrer les principes du développement durable à son activité, Paris, Irma, 2014.

Lucas J.-M., Culture et développement durable : il est temps d’organiser la palabre…, Paris, Irma, 2010.

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Sinapi C. & E. Juno-Delgado, “Motivations for Establishing Cooperative Companies in the Performing Arts: A European Perspective”, In Kauhanen A. (ed.), Advances in the Economic Analysis of Participatory & Labor-Managed Firms, Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2015, p. 63 – 107.

Spence M., J. Ben Boubaker Gherib & V. Ondoua Biwolé, « Développement durable et PME: une étude exploratoire des déterminants de leur engagement », Revue internationale PME: Économie et gestion de la petite et moyenne entreprise, 20, (3-4), 2007, p. 17-42.

Throsby, The Economics of Cultural Policy, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010.

Throsby C. & G.A. Withers, The Economics of Performing Arts, London, Edward Arnold Publisher, 1979.

Urfalino P., L’invention de la politique culturelle, Paris : Documentation Française, 1996. Urrutiaguer D., Les mondes du théâtre. Désenchantement politique et économie des conventions, Paris: L’Harmattan, 2014.

Wallach, J.-C., La culture pour qui ? Essai sur les limites de la démocratisation culturelle, Toulouse : Editions de l’Attribut, 2006.

Expectations for papers:

We are soliciting two types of contributions; 1) Researchers may address theoretical considerations and qualitative and/or quantitative data on the issue of cultural sustainable development in the performing arts or the film industry; 2) Panel discussions may be based on the testimony of professionals or amateurs.

Further, papers may be based on the theoretical background of various disciplines in sciences: aesthetics, anthropology, economy, ethnology, history, information and communication sciences, management sciences, philosophy, political sciences, sociology. The colloquium concerns all the domains of performing arts (theatre, dance, music, puppetry, circus, storytelling, performances, interdisciplinary theatre) and  the  film industry.

Proposals involving the on-site observation of professional or amateur artists should be accompanied by a document or a link offering further information on the experiment or experience described.

Communications can be in French or English. If the language used is French, the presentation support (ppt., etc.) written in English should be appraised and vice-versa if possible.

The scientific committee will select some papers for publication.

To submit a proposal: Please send the title and an abstract around 3,000 characters with a short bio-bibliography (in the form of a Word document) before October 5, 2016 to the Organization Committee:

Notification of acceptance on November 15, 2016.

Organisation Committee 

Daniel Urrutiaguer, professor in performing arts studies, co-director of the Research Team (RT) Passages XX-XXI, Université Lumière Lyon 2

Christine Sinapi, professor of finance, scientific coordinator of the RT in Cultural management, Burgundy School of Business

Aurélie Mouton-Rezzouk, lecturer in theatre studies, RT Institut de Recherche en Etudes Théâtrales (IRET), Université Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3

Scientific Committee

Rachel Brahy, lecturer, scientific coordinator of the Maison des sciences de l’homme, Université de Liège

Sylvie Chalaye, professor in theatre studies, IRET, Paris 3

Laurent Creton, professor in economics of cinema, RT Institut de Recherche en Cinéma et Audiovisuel (IRCAV), Paris 3

Véronique Corinus, lecturer in comparative and francophone literature studies, RT  Passages XX-XXI, Lyon 2

Nadine Decourt, researcher in anthropology of storytelling, retired assistant professor, RT Passages XX-XXI, Lyon 2

Jacques Gerstenkorn, professor in cinematographic studies, RT Passages XX-XXI, Lyon 2 Kira Kitsopanidou, lecturer in economics of cinema, RT IRCAV, Paris 3

Bérénice Hamidi-Kim, lecturer in theatre studies, Institut universitaire de France, co- director of the RT Passages XX-XXI, Lyon 2

Philippe Henry, researcher in socioeconomics, retired assistant professor Aurélie Mouton-Rezzouk, lecturer in theatre studies, RT IRET, Paris 3 Olivier Neveux, professor in theatre studies, RT Passages XX-XXI, Lyon 2

Maria Lucia de Souza Barros Pupo, professor in theatre studies, RT Conselho Nacional de Pesquisas Tecnológicas, Universidad de São Paulo

Jaime Ruiz-Gutiérez, associate professor in arts management, Universidad de los Andes – School of Management, Bogotá

Milena    Dragićević    Šešic,    Unesco    Chair    in    Cultural    Policy    and    Management

(interculturalism and mediation in the Balkans), University of Arts Belgrade

Christine Sinapi, professor of finance, scientific coordinator of the RT in Cultural management, Burgundy School of Business

Daniel Urrutiaguer, professor in performing arts studies, co-director of the RT Passages XX-XXI, Lyon 2

Emmanuel Wallon, professor in political sociology, RT History of arts and performances, Paris 10

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