When communities become markets, citizens become consumers, and culture becomes an exploitable product
July 5, 2016 by Diane Ragsdale
A couple weeks back I had the privilege to give a talk in Christchurch, NZ at an event called The Big Conversation—hosted by Creative New Zealand, the major arts funding body for the country. You can download a transcript here. The talk, titled Transformation or Bust: When Hustling Ticket Sales & Contributions Is Just Not Cutting It Anymore, was intended to address the general conference theme, Embracing Arts / Embracing Audiences. It was assembled on top of four cornerstone ideas:
Ultimately, I pull the various threads of the talk together in a framework that seeks to conceptualize the difference between embracing the community and embracing the market. In setting this up, I build on Internet guru Seth Godin’s notion of, essentially, competing worldviews that inform the way companies approach marketing. In an interview with Krista Tippett on her NPR show, On Being, Godin remarks:
There’s one view of the world called the Wal-Mart view that says that what all people want is as much stuff as possible for as cheap a price as possible. … And that’s a world based on scarcity. I don’t have enough stuff. How do I get more stuff?… There’s a different view, which is the view based on abundance. [And] in an abundance economy the things we don’t have enough of are connection …and time.
Here’s the PPT slide of the framework I created that synthesizes the various ideas in the talk:
***This photo is of the stunning sculpture by Michael Parekowhai, On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer, and it was taken at one of the many sites where the work was situated in Christchurch following its presentation at the 54th Venice Biennale. It is currently housed at the Christchurch Art Gallery and is considered to be a symbol of the resilience of the people of Christchurch following the earthquakes.
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