Rapids and backwaters. Adapting fast and slow to a digital cultural turn

This project will explore how digitization has affected value generation for arts and culture. It will examine how regulation, copyright and cultural policy have adapted to the digital production and distribution of culture. The project aims to answer these questions: How has digitization affected how different cultural workers organize their work, earn money and create value? How can digital culture be regulated nationally and internationally, and what consequences does this have for a national cultural policy?

Rapids and backwaters has a simple starting point: although there is little doubt that digitization is a major force of change, it does not affect all areas at the same pace and to the same degree. This is especially true in the field of culture. The title of the project suggests that in the digital flow things are changing fast and slow at the same time. While some cultural fields, such as music, have fundamentally changed in a couple of decades, other fields, such as theater, are far less influenced by digital changes. In addition, new types of cultural workers have emerged, working exclusively with digital tools. On the other hand, cultural policy and regulation of the cultural field have also been affected in various ways. When culture is produced and disseminated digitally, it creates some obvious challenges for a cultural policy that often has a national starting point and national regulations and legislation. What opportunities are there for a national and, not least, border-based cultural policy when culture is increasingly borderless? The project will explore how different countries have adapted to this dilemma and describe some opportunities for a digital cultural policy in the 21st century.

The project is funded by Research Council Norway.

Rapids and backwaters have five different work packages:

Knowledge and policy state of the art. (WP1)

Staying afloat. Cultural workers in a digital environment. (WP2)

Identifying categories of revenue streams and value generation. (WP3)

Regulated streams. Towards a sustainable copyright policy in a digital age. (WP4)

Adaptation or abdication? National cultural policy adaptation to a digital turn. (WP5)

What is the knowledge and policy state of the art in the digital cultural economy?.

How has digitization affected the strategies, value chains and revenue streams for different cultural workers?

What kind and categories of revenue streams constitute the income for cultural workers in performing arts, visual artists and social media influencers?

How can national and/or international copyright regulation best accommodate digital production and distribution of culture?

What public policies ensure that the Nordic model of cultural policy can make the best of digitization in the cultural sector?

Contact Us

Principal Investigator,
Ole Marius Hylland

Research Project Assistant, Kristine P. Miland