Summing up 2022

2022 was an eventful year for the project Rapids and backwaters. This was the first year almost entirely free from the covid-19 restrictions.

We started the year with some of us lecturing at the PhD-course «Current Trends and Developments in Cultural Policy Studies» at the University of South-Eastern Norway, with special topic «Cultural policy and creative labour in the age of digitzation». In the lectures we showed examples from the project within the theme: How does digitization change the value chains and affect
the work situation of different groups of creative workers?

Later in the spring we had two publications from our project partners. First Mira Burri with the chapter Copyright as an Engine for Creativity: A Critical Appraisal of Contemporary Developments in Intermediaries’ Liability Regulation, which was published in The Oxford Handbook of Arts and Cultural Management. Christian Handke, together with Carolina Dalla Chiesa published the article «The art of crowdfunding arts and innovation: the cultural economic perspective» in the Journal of Cultural Economics.

In June, most of the project group met in Bø, Norway, where Telemark Research Institute is located. Over two days, we discussed the planned anthology, and planned for the panel at ICCPR in Antwerp.

ICCPR in Antwerp took place in September, where the project was represented in a panel, and with three papers. You can read more about those at the «Publications and presentations»-site.

In November, we had a digital meeting to discuss the progress of the forthcoming anthology.

There were also two publications at the end of the year. The first article, «Digital cultural policy. The story of a slow and reluctant revolution«, describes digital cultural policy as a slow and ambivalent or reluctant revolution in a policy field. In investigates how cultural policy has gradually been affected by digitalization in the field of cultural production. The second article, «Pandemic cultural policy. A comparative perspective on Covid-19 measures and their effect on cultural policies in Europe«, showed, among other things, that cultural policies have not been fundamentally challenged by the pandemic, in the sense that it has affected the essential political tools, divisions of labour, or core goals. Both articles were published in International Journal of Cultural Policy.

We are very exited for 2023. We hope it will be filled with constructive discussions, and the presentation of more publications and results from the project.


In September 2022 most of our research team members met at the 12th International Conference on Cultural Policy Research in Antwerp, Belgium. There were three papers presented from the project at the conference, in addition to a joint panel on Digital cultural policies.

Screen dump from the live recording of the panel, 21.09.22

You can read the abstracts for the papers under «Publications and presentations«.

The panel discussed the relation between national cultural policies and the digital turn, based on the project. The other participating institutions were University of Barcelona, IRMO (Institute of Development and International Relations, Zagreb) and University of Glasgow. European countries face great and similar challenges in the process of making their cultural policies coherent with a digital turn. What happens when cultural policy turns, or needs to turn, digital? A guiding question for this panel was whether national cultural policies, faced with digitization, have adapted or abdicated. In addition to describing, analysing and comparing different varieties of digital cultural policies, there was also an aim for this panel to discuss possible alternatives for future development of such policies. An ambition within any policy to ensure that there is room for manoeuvre for policy-makers; that the chosen tools and modes of action actually have influence. How can this be ensured within the field of digital and digitized culture?

The panel was recorded and can be viewed at the ICCPR-portal.

Project meeting in Norway

In June 2022, Telemark Research Institute (TRI) had the pleasure of welcoming our project team members to Bø, Norway, where TRI is located. We had two days of interesting discussions.

The project group met to discuss the planned anthology, as one of the outputs of the project. We discussed which data, questions, cases and specific issues each country should raise in the country-specific chapters in the anthology. We also planned for a panel at the upcoming International Conference on Cultural Policy Research in Antwerp in September 2022.

Project meeting in Rome

For the first time, our project group had a physical meeting. This took place in Rome, October 21st and 22nd 2021.

The first day we had country-specific from Norway, Croatia, Germany, Spain and Switzerland. The presentations included recent developments and knowledge on reopening of the cultural sector, ditial turns in the wake of Covid-19 and eventual lasting effects on the cultural sectors.

We also updated eachother on the progress in the different work packages. Among other things, the paper «Tales of temporary disruption. Digital adaptions in the first 100 days of the cultural Covid lockdown» was discussed.

The next day, we discussed the planned anthology. The anthology is scheduled to be published spring 2023.

We also had work-package specific group discussions. This was a nice way to get to know eachother better than through a computer screen.

June-update for the R&B-project

During the spring of 2021 we have had two meetings to discuss analytical perspectives in our paper on the effects of COVID-19 on the arts and cultural sectors across the countries represented by our project team members. Our meetings are still digital, but hopefully during autumn we will have the chance to meet physically.

We have also conducted a large survey in on the consumption of digital culture in Norway. This exciting data has been discussed by our project members and will be used in one or more articles at a later point. In this survey we have also seen some effects of COVID-19. For instance, 21 % of our respondents state that they during this last year have seen a digital live concert for the first time.

New paper: The Art of crowdfunding arts and innovation: the cultural economic perspective

Our project partner Christian Handke, from Erasmus University Rotterdam, has published a working paper together with Carolina Dalla Chiesa. The paper concerns how cultural economics provide a useful structure to explain much of the crowdfunding phenomenon.

You can read the paper here:

Third meeting and Christmas toast

Digital meetings has been the norm for this project, although it reads from the minutes from this meeting that “we still miss people”. The third meeting was held on November 13th 2021, and the main point was to keep everybody updated on the progress in the different work packages, as well as discussing analytical perspectives in the further work.

In addition to the meeting, we had a digital Christmas toast on December 18th. All of the partners received a small bottle of Norwegian Aquavit (physically of course) by mail, and we were able to toast (digitally). As pleasant as this was, we hope to make future toasts entirely physical.

Second workshop and meeting

The second general meeting in the project was also a digital one. This was held on June 4 2020, and the main point of the meeting was to discuss the empirical strategy for WP1. This was the work package dedicated to analyse the knowledge and state of the art, regarding both policy and relevant research. All partners presented some points on the situation in their respective countries, both regarding the state of digital cultural policy in general, and regarding the different adaptions to the Covid-19 situation in the cultural sector.

Background for the project

In 2014, Research Council Norway launched a new research programme, KULMEDIA. The programme was directed towards research on the culture and media sector, and it was partly funded by the Ministry of Culture. Before the launch of the programme, a number of reports and studies had underlined the need for research-based knowledge to enable policy development in the field of culture. This was considered to be especially pertinent in a time when these sectors are undergoing fundamental changes, fueled by digitization, globalization and altered economic frameworks. The original five-year programme was prolonged with a new five-year period from 2019-2023.

The primary objective for the current KULMEDIA programme is to «promote high-quality research in the cultural and media fields». The plan for the programme says the following about the ambitions for the research: «Knowledge accumulated under the programme is to be of relevance for policy development and public administrationas well as for stakeholders active in these fields. The programme will generate knowledge about the challenges and opportunities associated with technological and economic changes, and about media and cultural policy.» Our project, Rapids and backwaters, received funding from the programme in December 2019, with the formal start-up date March 1, 2020. The project is covering two of the thematic and scientific priority areas for the programme: the relationship between change and stability, and the relationship between digital and analogue. Furthermore, it also covers two basic areas for the programme: digitization and cultural policy.

Having a start-up meeting in Covid lockdown

After initial planning, the formal starting date of the project was set to March 1, 2020. We had originally planned to meet in Oslo for a joint workshop and kickoff meeting from March 31 to April 1. This turned out to be difficult. In the middle of March, most countries were put in Covid-19 lockdown, making travel impossible. This made it necessary to go for a plan B, which was a digital kickoff meeting, which we had on April 1. The topics of the meeting were an introduction to the project and the participants, a presentation of the progress plans for the different work packages, and a more open-ended discussion on how we should deal with the new situation, in light of the pandemic.