Valuing the Arts: Theorising and Realising Cultural Capital in an Australian City

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    doi: 10.1111/j.1745-5871.2006.00403.x

    Blackwell Publishing, Ltd.

    Original Acticle

    Louise Johnson: Valuing the Arts

    Valuing the Arts: Theorising and Realising Cultural Capital in an Australian City


    School of History, Heritage and Society, Deakin University, Geelong, Victoria 3217, Australia. Email:

    Received 22 September 2005; Revised 11 May 2006; Accepted 16 May 2006


    For those who make and admire artistic works, there is no question of theirvalue. However, for others interested in economic development, the value of thearts is often more tangential, contested and questionable. While the post-modernworld of consumption and spectacle suggests to some academics and governmentsthat the arts and cultural industries are the way of the future, others remainsceptical about their social and economic value. This is a theoretical as well asa practical issue this paper explores by offering a reconceptualisation of PierreBourdieus concept of cultural capital as a way of re-assessing the value of thearts. The paper then applies this framework to quantify and qualify the value ofthe arts in one regional city in Australia Geelong in Victoria focusing on thework of two artists. The aim is to describe the interconnected processes bywhich the arts generate cultural capital in the form of confidence, image, indi-vidual well-being, social cohesion and economic viability. The analysis alsohighlights the ongoing power relations which prescribe artistic production, cir-culation and valuation. The implications of such a rethinking and application gowell beyond one city and region to other places grappling with the relationshipbetween artistic production and urban well being. By focusing on the broad-ranging process by which artistic value is created for individuals, groups, pro-fessionals, communities and governments, a model becomes available for otherplaces to use in realising their cultural capital.




    cultural capital






    social capital




    urban image


    The cultural industries are seen by many as thefuture, mobilising creativity to regenerate urbanlandscapes, enliven moribund manufacturing eco-nomies and rebuild social relations torn asunderby years of restructuring (for example, Ryan,1992; Bianchini and Parkinson, 1993; Landry andBianchini, 1995; Scott, 2000; Florida, 2002).While there is much excitement and glamourassociated with artistic activity, just how the artsand related cultural industries generate value forthe individuals concerned, for their communitiesand their regions, is not always clear. For those

    who are involved in the arts, who make andadmire artistic works, there is no question oftheir value. However, for planners, politiciansand others interested in economic development,community capacity building and urban re-imagining, the value of the arts is not alwaysobvious and may well be questionable (forexample, Harvey, 1989; Zukin, 1991; Deutsche,1996; Hannigan, 1998).

    This is a theoretical as well as a practicalissue which this paper will explore by initiallydefining terms and overviewing the contributionof the creative arts to Australia. Such an exercise

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    confirms the need to go beyond a purely eco-nomic appraisal of the arts. The next sectiontherefore reconceptualises Pierre Bourdieusnotion of cultural capital as a more realistic wayof thinking about the value of the arts. The finalpart of the paper will apply the model to thegeneration and realisation of cultural capital in aplace. This will involve quantifying but alsoqualifying the value of cultural capital in oneregional Australian city Geelong in Victoria and will focus on the context and work of twoartists. Unpacking case studies of creating cul-tural capital in one place indicates the broadrange of value the arts generate in terms ofconfidence, image, individual well-being, socialconnection and economic vitality. The analysisalso highlights the importance of the processesby which value is ascribed and how this relatesto a range of time and place specific powerdynamics circulating around institutions, net-works, class, gender and post-colonial positions.The implications of such a rethinking and appli-cation go well beyond one city and region toother places grappling with the relationshipbetween artistic production, social well-being,urban regeneration and economic development.

    What are the Arts?

    Defining and appraising the value of the arts inAustralia has undergone a transformation overthe last 30 years. In the 1970s the arts weredeemed to have intrinsic value, enriching tothose individuals involved and vital to definingas well as entertaining the nation. As timewent on, the arts were increasingly viewedas an economic sector until finally the creativearts were located within the Cultural or Crea-tive Industries, a key driver of an emergingknowledge economy. Such a shift has beenechoed in a number of other countries such asthe United Kingdom (Donnovan and Middleton,1987; Myerscough, 1988; Hall and Hubbard,1998; Hall, 2000), Spain, France, Italy (Bianchiniand Parkinson, 1993; Gomez, 1998; Power,2002), Canada (Toronto Culture, 2003; Bain,2004), the United States (Levine, 1992; Wagner

    et al

    ., 1995; Hannigan, 1998) and Singapore(Chang, 2000; Renaissance City Report, 2000;Chang and Lee, 2003). This move to locate thecreative arts within a broad and expanding eco-nomic sector can be read in a number of ways:as indicative of a structural shift towards amore symbolic economy (Caves, 2000; Scott,2000; 2001; Hesmondhalgh, 2002), but also as aresponse to a neo-liberal politics demanding

    economic returns on government investment inthe arts. Such an imperative to quantify the eco-nomic value of the arts has spurred the creationof a whole new sub-discipline of Economics. ThusCultural Economics has applied neo-classicalassumptions to provide quantified data on artisticemployment, investment, output and linkages togovernments and bureaucrats as they grapplewith assessing the value of the arts (for example,Trowse, 1997; Throsby, 2001).

    Since its inception the Australia Council, asthe primary government-funded body support-ing the arts, focused on supporting the creativearts performance, music and the visual arts(Throsby and Withers, 1984). In so doing thisbody affirmed what was traditionally regardedas


    arts. Over the 1980s, however, as the neo-liberal political agenda meshed with the emer-gence of new economic sectors, the focus of theCouncil and various Federal and State artsbureaucracies became

    The Arts Industry

    : a set ofactivities which contributed to Gross NationalProduct, employed workers and produced com-modities for sale. This involved a way of think-ing about the arts which drew direct parallelswith other economic sectors. In more recent dis-course, dating from the 1994 Creative Nationpolicy of the Keating Federal Government, theemphasis became the

    Cultural Industries

    . Thisterm refers to that sector of the economy organ-ised around the production and consumption ofcultural goods and services, ones which includebut go well beyond the creative arts to includezoos, parks and gardens, publishing and theirretail intermediaries.

    In 2001, the Australian Bureau of Statistics(ABS) defined the Cultural Industries ascomprising:

    printing and publishing (including news-papers, books and periodicals);film, video, radio and television;libraries and museums (including zoos, parksand gardens);music and theatre production; andretail and support services to these activities(such as recording studios, book and maga-zine wholesaling, recorded music retailing,video hire outlets and photographic studios).

    In census tabulations, the ABS identified Artistsand Related Professionals as comprising twogroups: a core of actors, dancers, artistic directors,authors, designers and illustrators, film, televi-sion and stage directors, musicians, photographersand visual arts and craftspersons. They also in

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    some analyses define a group of Arts-relatedoccupations which includes architects, artsteachers, book and script editors, copywriters,journalists and media presenters (ABS, 1997;2001a). All thereby become workers in the cul-tural industries. Such a category is boostedfurther when broadened to include the CreativeIndustries all of those above, plus fashion,advertising and interactive leisure software.Collectively, these are activities which have theirorigin in individual creativity, skill and talentand which have the potential for wealth and jobcreation through the generation and exploitationof intellectual property (CITF, 2001; Gibson

    et al

    ., 2002). Internationally and locally, thesecultural industries are seen as


    sector whichis driving the post-modern future integral tothe expanding service sector with the potentialto transform derelict industrial precincts, createnew classes and play a central role in community-restoring social interactions (Harvey, 1989;Landry and Bianchini, 1995; Florida, 2002;Hesmondhalgh, 2002; Comedia, 2003)

    Economic value of the Arts

    What then is the value of such activity? Sincethe designation of the creative arts as a culturalindustry in Australia, the economic contributionof the sector has been systematically measuredby the Statistics Working Group of the AustralianCultural Ministers Council, in various AustraliaCouncil reports, surveys by cultural economistsand the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Thesevarious organisations regularly collect and pub-lish information on the employment, turnover,visitation patterns, multiplier effects and exportperformance of the cultural sector. Such dataconfirm the growth, relative economic impor-tance and social significance of the creative artsin Australia, though the focus on paid activityhas been criticised as limiting the assessmentof the scale and contribution of the arts (Gibson

    et al

    ., 2002).Thus in 19931994 the cultural industries

    produced $19.3 billion worth of goods and ser-vices and contributed 2.5% of Australias GrossDomestic Product. In comparison, the roadtransport industry contributed $15.14 billion,residential building construction industry $24.8billion and education $23.6 billion (ABS, 1997,33). In 20002001 Australia exported $478 mil-lion worth of cultural goods (though there wasalso $3.1 billion of imports!) primarily books,magazines, radio and television receivers andexposed photographic and cinematographic media

    and artistic works (ABS, 2003). Within Australia,these industries have been growing rapidly overthe last 20 years with paid employment risingfrom 112 300 in 1986 to 202 500 in 2001 (ABS,1986; 2001b). From 1991 this growth in employ-ment was over 20% compared with 7.4% in allindustries (Cultural Ministers Council, No. 7, n.d.).Though these workers constitute only 3% of thenational workforce (ABS, 2005), their contribu-tion to the social as well as to the economic lifeof the nation is far more than these statisticssuggest. As Gibson

    et al

    . (2002) argue, thoseworking in the cultural industries are grosslyunder-enumerated. They quote an ABS nationalsurvey of 26 000 households as yielding a figureof 2.5 million in paid and unpaid work in thecultural industries in 20002001, more than twelvetimes the census figure (2002, 178).

    As well as the significant numbers involved inpaid and unpaid work, attendance at culturalvenues and activities is vast 85% of the Aus-tralian population over 15 years old or 12.6 mil-lion people attended at least one cultural activityin the previous year when surveyed by the ABSin April 1999, spending $10 billion or $27 perweek on culture (SWG No. 9, 2002; 2004).Further, during 2000 there were 2.5 million peopleor 16.8% of the population over fifteen years oldwho did some paid or unpaid work in cultureand leisure activities. Therefore, as an economicsector, the arts and cultural industry is signifi-cant generating employment, exports, massparticipation and expenditure. In addition, thereis a huge contribution through unpaid labourand non-ticketed attendances.

    Such numbers have been invaluable in affirm-ing the value of the arts to politicians, bureau-crats and sceptical tax payers. However, theeconomistic framework of such data is relativelynarrow and, as a consequence, limits anappraisal and appreciation of the broader valueof artistic activity. With an emphasis on the actionsof individuals and quantifiable economic benefits,these assessments rest on a small set of neo-classical axioms. Such assumptions conceive ofthe arts in terms of supply and demand, withproduction and consumption the result ofrational individual behaviour. Therefore thenotion of the arts as a bundle of economic goodslocks discussion into a particular paradigm, onewhich sees society comprised of self-interestedconsumers seeking to maximise their own utilityand producers seeking to maximise their profits.This is fundamentally different from the way inwhich cultural activity occurs and is circulated.

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    For such activity reflects and draws on collectivegoals and derives its nature and meaning, if notits value, from expressing the beliefs, aspirationsand identities of groups in a web of interlockingnetworks. As Throsby (1997, 30) argues: Theeconomic impulse is individualistic, the culturalimpulse is collective.

    Therefore, what artistic and creative activitycontributes beyond those measures registeredby the Australian Bureau of Statistics to indi-vidual and community well-being, to urbanenvironments, to regional economies requiresa broader conceptualisation of the capital andvalue that is created by the cultural industries.The rest of this paper will argue that a reformu-lation of Pierre Bourdieus concept of culturalcapital can offer a useful framework for suchan evaluation. In particular, following Marxand Harvey, a notion of cultural capital whichacknowledges that value is relational, expansiveand collective, is required. Such a version seescultural capital as produced through creativeacts in a structured socio-political context ofself-actualisation, object making and meaningattribution, social exchange and institutionalisedsupport, in particular places. The remainder ofthis paper will elaborate on this alternativenotion before briefly applying it to the work oftwo artists in the Victorian city of Geelong.

    Rethinking cultural capital

    In trying to conceptualise in an abstract wayvalue in the arts, I was drawn firstly to thework of that great critic of capitalist society,Karl Marx. However, in trying to apply his workto the creative arts, it became necessary to gobeyond Marxs labour theory of value to focuson the particular case of artistic creation. In thisexercise I was assisted by the French sociologistPierre Bourdieu whose concept of


    connects values to artefacts within a specificarray of class and institutional settings. Whenlinked to the work of New Zealand economistAnne De Bruin, the production of cultural com-modities can be thought of and researched in away that recognises creative labour and thesocio-political dynamics of creating, circulating,realising and institutionalising its value. Recog-nising that this process occurs across differentscales and within broader contexts of structuredsocial relations allows the process of value cre-ation to be located within other relevant frames.Doing this as a human geographer foregroundsand rightly recognises the importance of


    in this process. The remainder of this section

    elaborates on this re-conceptualisation of cul-tural capital.

    Notions of value in Marx were formulated inabstract terms and then within time and space-specific settings (after Horvath and Gibson,1984). In his three volume

    Critical Analysis ofCapitalist Production

    , actual value is derivedwhen labour power is applied to raw materialswithin a particular production process. Such aproduction system in turn creates goods whosevalue can only be realised through exchange andconsumption (Marx, 1954; 1956). It is a cycle,with each stage related to and dependent on theother. This notion of value is


    , in thatthe meaning and activity of creating valueemerges from a complex set of interconnectedsocial relations (Ollman, 1976). A study of


    therefore has to focus on the process by whichvalue is created and ascribed. As Harvey suggests,a fixed notion of value has to be replaced withan understanding of the social processes ofvaluation (Harvey, 1996, 1011). How to movebeyond such a relatively abstract approach to theactual study of value systems in the world of artand culture is assisted by the work of PierreBourdieu and his notion of

    cultural capital.

    Bourdieu developed the concept of culturalcapital to describe the possession of knowledge,accomplishments, formal and informal qualifi-cations


    by individuals and used bythem to negotiate their social position. Thoughnot necessarily matching the distribution of eco-nomic and social capital, in Bourdieus analysis,cultural capital tended to reinforce the unequalclass order of late twentieth century France andwas associated with class as well as cultural andeconomic power (Brooker, 1999). Bourdieusubsequently used the concept to analyse andexplain the high failure rate of working classchildren in the French school system as well asto detail and socially situate the tastes of thebourgeoisie. From this he argued that these classspecific notions of culture had the effect of re-inforcing and legitimising middle class power(Bourdieu, 1984; 1994).

    If cultural capital is held (or


    ) byindividuals as a consequence of their familybackground, education and placement in theclass system, the cultural object or

    objectifiedcultural capital

    attains value for Bourdieuthrough its position in a

    field of cultural produc-tion

    (Frow, 1995; 1998). Within each field thereare objective qualities which govern and indicatesuccess. These may include price, awards, com-missions or grants. Each field, however, is the

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    consequence of forces and struggles betweenkey arbiters of taste


    interests those who gaze upon, encourage, sponsor,value, purchase and display the artistic products,and the political context in which such trans-actions occur. As a result, changes in literary orartistic possibilities result from alterations in thepower relations between those involved in definingart and its value bureaucrats, patrons, critics,producers, arts managers, viewers and consumers(Bourdieu, 1994). For Bourdieu, then, it is theintersection of embodied and objectified outputwith artistic institutions which thereby gives anyart object or activity its value. Conducted at alocal and national scale, Bourdieus analysisrelativises taste, artistic production and valuingwithin specific social and spatial orders which inturn are infused with differential class power.

    Bourdieus concept of cultural capital hasallowed others to quantify and qualify the cul-tural industries and its products. The economistAnne De Bruin used Bourdieus distinctionbetween embodied, objectified and institutional-ised cultural capital to assess the cultural pro-duction of a group of Pacific Islanders in SouthAuckland, New Zealand and build communityemployment initiatives upon them (de Bruin,1996; 1998a; 1998b). From her work within theSamoan community, De Bruin identified parti-cular aspects of their culture organisational net-works, music and artistic motifs which werevaluable to them and legible to others. From thisbase she tracked and facilitated the creation ofnew urban designs, a music recording companyand an arts festival (1996; also 1998b). Heranalysis utilises Bourdieus disaggregated typo-logy of cultural capital:


    Embodied cultural capitals

    were the abilities,talents, styles, language, values, motifs, crea-tive labour and images of people in the group such as writers, painters, film makers andthose who organised and attended the self-referential festival as well as the socio-spatial networks of Pacific Islanders withinand beyond South Auckland. It was they whojoined non-Pacific Islanders in the localityand the city as a whole to ascribe value tolocal events and artefacts;


    Objectified cultural capital

    comprised thecultural goods such as paintings, books, food,performances, films and marked urban pre-cincts that emerged from the mobilisation ofembodied capital. Their value derived fromthe field in which they were produced by

    the embodied cultural capital within them andthe political and institutionalised context inwhich they were circulated and either viewedor purchased. In South Auckland, objectifiedcultural capital included original motifs thatwere translated into urban designs and com-munal kinship links, social networks andvalues which were mobilised into a successfularts festival and recorded songs and music.


    Institutionalised cultural capital

    is evidentwhere embodied and objectified culturalcapital is directed into structures that canenhance an individual or a groups social oreconomic position. This may involve a publicscreening of a film, a gallery show or acqui-sition, a theatre, the sale and publishing of abook manuscript, writing for a newspaper,patent and use of a computer game, or acommissioned urban design. In South Auck-land institutionalised cultural capital took theform of Enterprise Otara and the local Councilfacilitating and funding public art, new urbandesign, a community development officer, artsfestivals and a music recording company.

    De Bruins work indicates that Bourdieus threeelements of cultural capital can offer a viableframework for unpacking the relational ways inwhich cultural activity is produced, circulatedand apprehended by others. She shows how cul-tural capital is not only about money and eco-nomics, but acquires value through its links withsocial capital networks, relations of reciproc-ity and trust and through institutional support.Her work further indicates that cultural capitalincludes community pride, confidence, creativ-ity and sense of place.

    De Bruin thereby details how cultural capitalin its creation, circulation and consumptionbecomes valuable but also sustainable. If suchcapital translates into ongoing employment andincome it may ensure future economic sustaina-bility of a social group or the individuals withinit; if it builds on and enhances social networks,it can grow social capital; and if it empowerslocal communities and actively connects theminto the formal political process, it will be polit-ically sustainable. What is missing from heranalysis, however, is recognition of the powerdynamics which infuse the production andreception of cultural capital. For de Bruin doesnot foreground the post-colonial context inwhich Samoans are positioned within New Zea-land, a context which means that they enterAuckland and the local economy as racialised

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    others. In this role, they not only experiencerelatively high levels of poverty and unemploy-ment, necessitating the sort of project de Bruininstigates, but also come to represent culturaldifference. It is this difference which is con-sciously mobilised and commodified and sub-sequently circulates within the post-colonialeconomy. As writers such as Said, Hall andJacobs have noted in other contexts, the powerrelations associated with colonialism infuse thedefinition, circulation and valuing of culturesand their related art works (Said, 1978; Jacobs,1996; 1998; Hall and Tucker, 2004). The termsunder which cultural production occurs is there-fore vital. As Langton writes for AustralianAboriginal art works:

    Today, remnants of this (colonial) approachof seeing indigenous Australians cultural prac-tices as exotic, primitive, and the unknown,still linger in the popular consciousness. Butsome curators, gallery directors and art admin-istrators have deliberately challenged theparadigm of what is accepted as indigen-ous [and] opposed the fossilisation andorientalisation of indigenous arts, crafts andother cultural products (Council for AboriginalReconciliation, 1994, 13).

    If Bourdieus focus on the power relationsinvolved in the generation and reception ofcultural capital is reclaimed and broadened toinclude not just class but others of relevance such as those around colonialism or gender then de Bruins approach can be used elsewhere.Here then is a framework by which to analyseand assess the success of artistic or any otherform of cultural activity in a place. What followsis the application of this approach to a sample

    of artistic activity in the regional-industrial cityof Geelong in Victoria, Australia.

    Defining and realising cultural capital in Geelong, Victoria

    Located 60 km south west of the Victoriancapital city of Melbourne, Geelong began as a woolport and agricultural processing centre beforebecoming a major car and truck manufacturingcity in the mid-twentieth century. With an arrayof related industrial operations oil refining,aluminium smelting, car components and glassmaking as well as significant textile, clothingand footwear production, the city was hard hit bythe decline of Australian manufacturing from the1970s. Partly offset by the growth in service sectoractivities in health, education, research, financeand community welfare, the city is also lookingto the arts, culture, tourism and recreational indu-stries, for its future (Johnson, 1990; 2003).

    When applying the model of cultural capital toGeelong, a range of research methods were utilisedto quantify and qualify its value


    . Quantitative datafrom the ABS on employment, investment andactivity in the Cultural Industries for the City ofGreater Geelong indicates that in 2001 there were1731 people employed in Cultural and Recrea-tional Services, an increase of 66% over the 688that were employed in 1986. There were 771persons who defined themselves as Artists andRelated Professionals in 2001. Such employmentconstituted around 1% of the Geelong regionalworkforce. The largest increases over the 1980sand 1990s occurred for those working in designand illustration, journalism, as authors, and thoseworking in film, TV, radio and as stage directorsand media presenters (Table 1) (ABS Customisedtables, 1986; 1991; 1996; 2001).

    Table 1 Artists and related professions, Greater Geelong and Queenscliffe, 19862001.

    1986 1991 1996 2001

    Visual arts and crafts 51 75 69 82Photographers 52 40 53 65Designers and Illustrators 128 139 214 312Journalists and related 66 67 108 131Authors and related 7 22 16 25Film, TV, radio and stage directors 15 6 16 29Musicians and related 40 38 34 52Actors, dancers and related 21 23 12 31Media presenters 4 16 12 18Artists & related not defined 6 15 25 26Total 390 441 559 771

    Sources: ABS Census 1986; 1991; 1996; 2001.

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    While Table 1 is one quantitative assessmentof the arts in this region, another one emergingfrom the household census utilising the ABSdefinitions is the city councils tabulations of thenumber and range of artists in the region. Thusin December 2002 the City produced its first

    Arts Directory

    which itemised 148 practisingartists, illustrators, photographers, musicians,designers, performers, dancers and writers. Inaddition, the Directory noted over 100 organisa-tions, networks, venues and companies con-nected to the arts industry (City of GreaterGeelong, 2002). Significantly, as the Directoryrelied on self-selection in its compilation, therewere no architects, librarians, museum workersor journalists included. Artists in Geelong,therefore, retain the earliest Australia Councildefinition of their field, with this Directory notincluding those other activities which comprise(at Federal Government level and in other coun-tries) the cultural or creative industries.

    In addition to the Arts Directory, as part ofmy research project, a cultural industries database was generated for the region. This was toform the foundation for sampling interview andfocus group participants. The data base wasassembled using the Arts Directory, telephonedirectory, networks and word of mouth contacts.It gives an insight into just how the culturalindustries in Geelong (defined using 2001 ABSCensus categories) was composed. There were240 people on the data base calling themselvesartists and working in the arts, in addition to57 musicians, 29 writers, 17 media presenters, 11actors and dancers and 9 film or stage directors.There was also a vast array of individuals work-ing in organisations, venues and services to thearts, 114 in all. In addition, there were another80 people providing supplies, 35 bookshops, 18libraries and 59 educational facilities which hadsome concern with the arts. Contrary to whatwas expected from other research, the ABS Cen-sus measures of workers in the Arts and RelatedIndustries revealed far higher numbers thanthose represented in the City Council


    (City of Greater Geelong, 2002) or inthe cultural industries data base.

    Comparing Geelong with other places usingthe 2001 Census definition, it appears that with1% of its workforce comprised Artists andRelated Professionals that it is similar toAustralia as a whole and all other state capitals,with the exception of Sydney with 2%. It isalso the same as an array of other regionalcentres, such as Ballarat, Bendigo, Newcastle,

    Wollongong, Coffs Harbour and Tamworth (ABS,2001b).

    In addition to the readily available quantita-tive measures of employment and arts organisa-tions, there are other activities and institutionswhich collectively constitute the cultural indus-tries. So, for example, over any one year, therewould be 20 or more Major Events in Geelong,designed to showcase the city to its variouscommunities and tourists. In addition, there arewell established cultural institutions, smallerorganisations and ephemeral networks. To researchthis diverse range of individuals and activities, Iconducted surveys of two key festivals thePako (Multicultural) Festa and the NationalCeltic Folk Festival involving interviews withkey people in the arts, and focus group sessionswith those in each sub-sector of the industry.These data are summarised in Table 2.

    There are many other individuals and collec-tivities that can be added to this matrix, as wellas a large number of creative objects. The insti-tutional and social settings through which theycirculate and acquire value are all complexstories. Only a bare sketch and two case studiesare presented here. So, for example, some of thekey institutions supporting the arts in Geelong,such as the Geelong Performing Arts Centre,the National Wool Museum and the Geelong ArtGallery, have orientations primarily beyond theregion and see their roles as bringing the worldand its arts to the region, or projecting theculture of the region to the world. In addition,through their shows and educational programs,they aim to foster local involvement and learn-ing in the arts. In contrast to such major organ-isations or massed forms of institutionalisedcultural capital there are more local gatheringsof artists, such as the Geelong Writers Group,The Courthouse Youth Theatre, the Art HouseCollective and the Geelong Arts Alliance. Oper-ating in a very different array of institutionalisedsettings compared with the large externally-orientated and funded arts institutions, these arecreated by and for those working in Geelong.Their primary purpose is one of support social, economic and political for those whoare writing, painting, sculpting, performing orotherwise making art in the region. In part asa consequence of such different institutionalcontexts, the value of what is produced and shownwithin these organisations diverges significantly.For instance, members of the Geelong WritersGroup who attended a focus group discussionhighlighted the semi-private, non-commercial

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    but vital role of the group in ascribing localvalue to their work. In contrast, some in theGeelong Arts Alliance are highly sceptical of themajor arts organisations in the city and reachbeyond these to international venues, publica-tions and fora for recognition, sale and criticalacclaim. Other members of the Arts Allianceinclude a core group, who run what one artistdescribed as a tight ship which generatescommunity-based initiatives and successfullysecures grants and commissions (Shelly Hannigan,personal communication, 2006). The value gen-erated for active members of the Arts Alliance istherefore far higher in an economic and profil-ing sense though in human and social capitalterms, it is similar if not less than those whocreate community through membership of awriting group. In other words, the value of art inthese varied environments is the result of thepersonal, social, economic as well as politicalrelations in which works are created, circulatedand consumed.

    To better appreciate the interconnectionswhich allow artefacts to be created, circulatedand seen to create and realise its value I willfocus on the work of two individuals: GlennRomanis and Jan Mitchell. As only two of the82 visual artists recorded in the 2001 Census inthe Greater Geelong region, they cannot in anysense be seen as representative. As with the 140or so members of the Art House Collective,visual artists in Geelong range from the profes-sional to the amateur, from the highly trained tothe self-taught, from the person crafting jewel-lery and illustrating childrens books to thelarge-scale sculptor (Shelly Hannigan, personalcommunication, 2006). I have selected them onthe basis of the visibility of their work withinthe region and because of the information that isavailable on them and their work in the publicdomain. They have, in short, a public profile,institutional links of various sorts and an objec-tive output which allows the model of culturalcapital developed in the earlier part of this paper

    Table 2 Dimensions of cultural capitals in Geelong, Victoria 2005.

    Embodied cultural capital Objectified capital Institutional capital

    Values, training, links of individuals and their groups.

    Cultural products: music, performance, heritage, films, videos, paintings, writings, etc.

    Major and minor institutions and policies at local, regional and national level which support cultural activities.

    771 (448 men and 323 women) who were Artists and Related Professionals in the 2001 Census.200+ artists who self-identified in the Geelong Arts Directory.240 who were registered on the Cultural Industries Data Base.Jan Mitchell.Glenn Romanis.

    Art/Cultural works in the major institutions Geelong Art Gallery, Regional Library, Historical Records Centre and works in regional and private art galleries.Public art works and records of them.

    Geelong Performing Arts Centre. Geelong Art Gallery. National Wool Museum. Geelong Central Library. Deakin University. Historical Records Centre.

    Cultural festival participants.Publicly present ethnic groups.

    Major and minor heritage buildings, for example, waterfront, wool stores, customs house, arts precinct classified by the National Trust or otherwise officially or popularly valued.

    G21 Geelong Strategic Plan.G21 Arts and Cultural Heritage Pillar Group.City of Greater Geelong Culture Strategy.Geelong Otway Tourism Cultural Tourism Strategy.

    Geelong Arts Alliance. Art House Collective. Geelong Writers Group. Arts Newsletter.

    Individual works of art paintings, films, videos, writing and performances.

    The Potato Shed. Courthouse Youth Theatre. Back to Back Theatre.

    Wathaurong Aboriginal Glass Co-operative.

    Local galleries, media businesses and photography studios.Gordon TAFE and Art School. Brougham Art School.Arts Victoria. Regional Arts Victoria.Australia Council. Copyright Law. Trade Practices Act.

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    to be readily applied. They are also artists whohave produced public art works that representthe place. They have been supported by majorinstitutions (the Regional Arts Victoria and theCity of Greater Geelong respectively) and theyhave created work whose value extends from theindividual artist, to their collaborators, their patronsand to all of those whose lives have come intocontact with their work. Both artists have pro-duced work that is very much a statement inplace of place and its value derives in part fromthis location. The process of value creation istherefore both relational and spatial across arange of scales. It is also a process that is struc-tured by social and institutional connections.

    A member of the Art House Collective, JanMitchell is something of a visible but lone voice

    in the Geelong art scene. She is distinguishedwithin that collective by the extent of her formaltraining, her interest in the legal side of intellec-tual property rights and by the nature of herwork (Jan Mitchell, personal communication,2006). Mitchells most public work in Geelong(Figure 1) comprises 106 bollards located at his-torically appropriate sites around the waterfrontwalking trail. Using wooden pillars from ademolished local pier and drawing assistancefrom a regional builder and fellow artist, theMelbourne trained graphic designer, illustrator,painter and print maker turned her hand to threedimensional sculptures in the early 1990s.Trialled at a local primary school as an ArtsVictoria Artist in Residency in 1990, the imageswhich are variously inscribed on the bollards,

    Figure 1 Selected Bollards from the Bay Walk (artist: Jan Mitchell) (Source: The Author).

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    are taken from detailed research into the historyof Geelong people, events, places, institutionsand moments that have been important in mak-ing the place.

    The bollards arose as a commission from theCity of Greater Geelong as it moved decisivelyin the 1990s to rejuvenate its waterfront. Pre-sented as a highly polished and professionalsubmission from someone with an existing trackrecord and image, they were to form a vital partof the pedestrian upgrade of the foreshore. AsMitchell indicated, she knows about and isexcited about the history of Geelong and finds itpersonally rewarding to bring this to the publicthrough appealing and accessible work (JanMitchell, personal communication, 2006). Thebollards include images of a nurse from theearliest Geelong Hospital, Sisters of Mercy, seabathers, mayors and surveyors, volunteer fire-men, ships captains, life savers, members of theVolunteer Rifle Band, Peter Lalor (the leader ofthe Eureka Rebellion who came to Geelong tonurse his wounded body) and Nancy Nattyk-nuckers sitting astride her velocipede. While

    other bollards have been made for the nearbyAvalon Airfield and for Melbournes Tullama-rine Airport with a small number for an apart-ment building in Sydney, Mitchell is adamantthat her work remains connected to the Geelongregion with bollards in other places signifyingthe place and her output consciously limited bythis commitment (Jan Mitchell, personal com-munication, 2006).

    Another example of local art is a remarkableimage photographed from above of BlueSheep (Figure 2). Designed on commissionfrom Regional Arts Victoria as part of its SuchFertile Ground series of works in 2002, theShepparton born Koorie Glenn Romanis bringshis experience in textile design, mosaic tiling,paving, murals and painting to the work which,like all of the others in the Fertile Ground series,was meant to capture the nature of the place itwas made in (Such Fertile Ground, 2006). AsRomanis notes of these projects, they were tobe reflections or celebrations of where a com-munity belonged through an icon of the area.He goes on to describe how his image-making

    Figure 2 Blue Sheep (artist: Glenn Romanis).(Source: Permission Chris Bunston, Skyworks.)

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    was to be tempered by an environmentalconsciousness:

    Though I more or less said if were goingwith sheep then Id want to show not just thepositive aspects but the sometimes absolutelynegative impacts on the land your woollycreatures arent altogether fantastic. Especiallywith what theyve done to the broad groupindigenous grasses in the western plains thats why I chose a geographical way of look-ing at the area, a way that could show both sidesof the story (Such Fertile Ground, 2006).

    It was as a member of the Geelong Arts Alliancethat the commission was first offered to Roma-nis and it became the first major project for theAlliance (Blue Sheep, 1999). Seemingly arisingfrom word of mouth connections once theRegional Arts Victoria project was initiated, itwas an opportunity for members of the fledglingAlliance, to deliver something to its members.

    While defining himself as a contemporaryrather than an Aboriginal artist, Romanissindigenous heritage informs this and otherwork; because Blue Sheep has an environmentaltheme, he deliberately pictures and explores thelandscape and tells its stories. It is, like many ofhis other works for and with community groupsaround the country, a map involving art fitting

    into the environment and telling somethingabout it (Glenn Romanis, personal communica-tion, 2006). With Blue Sheep, Geelong is repre-sented as concentric circles located withinsignificant geographical markers. At the top isthe volcanic ridge of hills outside the city, theYou Yangs, Corio Bay on which the city islocated is off to the right, while the Moorabooland Barwon Rivers feed into the concentric circles.As Romanis notes: Its a map with levels andlayers of meaning about time now and in thepast (Such Fertile Ground, 2006). The blue andwhite of the design are derived from the localfootball team while the use of sheep representsGeelongs wool industry and its effect on thephysical and social environment of the city. Asone of three designs presented to Regional ArtsVictoria, Romanis art aims to inform peopleabout their local area and in the process hehopes to challenge them to respect, understandand gain a sense of belonging to the area inwhich they live (http:

    The works of these two artists can be un-packed in terms of their cultural capital; as eachelement can be thought of in terms of embodied,objectified and institutionalised forms of cul-tural capital (Table 3). The tabular summation ofthis material here should not be read as indicating

    Table 3 Dimensions of cultural capital in the Bay Walk Bollards and Blue Sheep.

    Cultural capital Bay Walk Bollards Blue SheepJan Mitchell Glenn Romanis

    Embodied Training in graphic arts, and experience in Irish TV, animation, film and print making.

    Bachelor of Arts. Trained as a textile designer. On the job training.

    A personal aesthetic and commitment to challenging Sleepy Hollow image of Geelong.

    Brings a conscious Koorie perspective on land and its history to his work. But also a contemporary rather than Aboriginal artist.

    Researching and presenting local history. Researching local history and working with community groups.

    Objectified Statement in wood of Geelong history and personal aesthetic.

    Map of Geelong using dyed sheep. Connection to the Geelong Football Club.

    Arrangement along a bay walk/historical trail. Long term presence.

    Caused amusement and controversy at the time of its creation.

    Use of old Yarra St Piers. Placement on a local farm and photographed by balloon from above.

    Institutional Idea came/trialled as Artist in Residence. Part of the Geelong Arts Alliance.Commissioned by Regional Arts Victoria.

    Commission from the City of Greater Geelong. Distributed via 120 000 post cards, ABC web site and Fertile Ground publicity.Supported/marketed by GOT maps, web site,

    souvenirs and book.Protected by Copyright Law, Intellectual Property Rights, Trade Practices Acts and Business Names Act.

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    that each dimension is somehow separate; rather,all are interconnected and related to each other.Table 3 is only a representational device to facil-itate presentation of the elements.

    What then of the value of these works of art?What various elements of cultural capital can bedrawn from them? Clearly they have value tothe individuals who created them. Each of theworks contains a significant amount of embod-ied cultural capital. They can be seen as part ofand expressions of the artists sense of identity,and material expressions of their place under-standings that also encapsulate particular train-ing and educational histories. In the case ofMitchell, years of formal training, for Romanis,a Bachelor of Arts degree and then what hedescribes as on the job, practical skill develop-ment and learning. Each object also indicatesthe place of the artists within the local field ofproduction, especially their social connectionsand artistic status in this regional centre asboth were commissions from the Geelong CityCouncil and Regional Arts Victoria respectively and were a means to generate income. Theirlevels of income remain modest, however, aswith most of those involved in relatively localarts production. As Gibson reminds us, being aworker in the cultural industries is far fromlucrative despite the hype and glamour thatsurrounds artistic output (Gibson, 2003). Bothartists were also members of local arts associa-tions, though the value of this connection wasquite different for each. For Romanis, BlueSheep was the first project realised by theGeelong Arts Alliance, a group with which hemaintains a loose affiliation. For Mitchell, beinga member of the Art House Collective does notinvolve a great deal of interaction but rather asense of difference that comes from formaltraining and a highly professional orientation.

    Income was derived from but is not ongoingfrom both works. The bollards are reproducedregularly on souvenir objects (post cards, book-lets, pens, in booklets) for the region as well ason promotional and information web sites andpublications. Jan Mitchell has a strong sense ofthe intellectual property value of the works andhas contemplated legal action against those whohave used images of her work without duepermission. Glenn Romanis Blue Sheep, whileessentially an ephemeral work, was reproducedas an aerial photograph on thousands of postcards and remains on the ABC and Arts Victoriaweb site. He was paid for the original com-mission but receives no ongoing payment for

    the work and its circulation. The value throughwide circulation and admiration of both worksgoes well beyond the original commissions toongoing royalties. For Mitchell, such paymentsconstitute a real income. For Romanis, he needsto continue chasing work and commissionsaround the country to earn a living from his art.While doing work for Aboriginal groups, he isclearly not limited to such activity. Both aretherefore working within an explicit post-colonial context but also moving beyond it.Indeed, Romanis is not actively embraced by thelocal Wauthaurong community, with his heritageand much of his work located in other parts ofthe State. While a member of the WauthorongCo-operative he does not identify with themartistically or in terms of personal descent. Theart works thus have complex individual eco-nomic, social and artistic value but also arecomponents in value chains that extend wellbeyond the region.

    At the next scale, their value is to their com-munities in the ways in which these works havevariously generated social capital: in the col-laborations necessary to their creation within theregion and beyond; in their appreciation andongoing maintenance (in the case of the bol-lards); in the pride the Wauthaurong could takein the success of Blue Sheep; and in the valuethat those in Geelong have ascribed to these artworks as statements of their place. It is fromdoing these works that the reputations of bothartists have been projected beyond the region.They are both recognised as community basedcontemporary artists doing high calibre work.Rather than being limited by the power dynamicsthat may inhibit their designation as women orAboriginal artists, their work has entered otherdiscourses of meaning and value attribution, inparticular those associated with defining andpromoting place. As the web site for the BayWalk Bollards notes:

    The Bay Walk Bollards have reached the sig-nificance of national and international identi-fication for the City of Greater Geelong.

    There is therefore a value to the City and regionof such work in the generation of successfulimages, in the creation of a tourist attraction, butalso in the creation of a sense of Geelong as aculturally sophisticated city with institutions,precincts and a culture which supports inventive,playful and real creative work. The bollards inparticular have become a symbol of Geelong,marketed as an integral part of its revitalised

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    waterfront and progressive image, especially totourists but also to potential investors and resi-dents. In all of these ways these works acquirea value well beyond any economistic notioncaptured by the term cultural industries. It isonly by utilising a broad conception of culturalcapital that their many faceted dimensions of valuecan be captured and their value truly realised.

    NOTE1. This research was funded by the Australian Research

    Council (Grant No. A00104825 Cultural capitals?Quantifying and qualifying the value of cultural capitalin the cultural industries of one Australian city, 20002003). These resources allowed the appointment of apart time Research Fellow, Ms Glenda Inglis-Gillespie,whose role was to compile an extensive bibliography,collate statistical information, organise the mass surveysof festivals and the focus group discussions. The viewsexpressed here are informed by this fine and broad rang-ing research but remain solely those of the author.

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