The public art and culture we are familiar with now is the outcome of three shifts in the financing and organisation of creative labour that have gathered momentum over the last two centuries – the transition from seeking personal patronage to working in commercial markets increasingly dominated by concentrated corporate control; the increasing role of the state in regulating and subsidising cultural production, distribution, and display; and the proliferation of voluntary amateur cultural production. The first part of this lecture outlines the development of these three strands and the relations between them. The second part explores how these relations are now being transformed under the double impact of market fundamentalist economic policies and the increasing centrality of digital system of production and distribution and asks what now is the condition and future of creative labour? Are we witnessing a progressive process of corporate enclosure or is it possible to build a new cultural commons?
Graham Murdock, Professor of Culture and Economy at the Department of Social Sciences at Loughborough University and Visiting Fellow in Media and Communication at Goldsmiths London University, is well-known for developing a critical approach to the analysis of culture and communication and the politics of risk that combines insights from across the humanities and social sciences. He has held the Bonnier Chair at the University of Stockholm and the Teaching Chair at the Free University of Brussels and been a Visiting Professor at the Universities of Auckland, Bergen, California, Curtin Western Australia, and Wuhan. His writings have been translated into twenty-one languages. His recent books include as co-editor: The Idea of the Public Sphere (Lexington 2010), The Blackwell Handbook of Political Economy of Communication (2011), Money Talks: Media, Markets, Crisis (2014), and in Mandarin, New Media and Metropolitan Life: Connecting, Consuming, Creating (2015). His next book, Carbon Capitalism and Communication: Confronting Climate Crisis, with Benedetta Brevini, brings together researchers and activists to explore the multiple ways that communication systems are implicated in global warming and the struggle for feasible alternatives.