CFP: “The Artist as an Entrepreneur” (Utrecht, December 17-18, 2018)



Workshop 2 – The artist as an entrepreneur: Old and new business models in the art market

 International workshop series

December 17-18, 2018
HKU University of the Arts Utrecht, The Netherlands

Submission deadline extended to September 21 2018

We are pleased to invite you to participate to the Second International Workshop The artist as an entrepreneur: Old and new business models in the art market, organised by Creative Economy – HKU University of the Arts Utrecht on November 20-21, 2018. This workshop is part of the International Workshops Series “Tools for the Future: Researching Art Market Practices from Past to Present”, jointly organised by ART-Dev University Paul Valéry Montpellier 3, Creative Economy-HKU University of the Arts Utrecht and IESA & Institute of Historical Research, London. Through individual presentations followed by group discussions, the series aims at bringing together scholars from different disciplines and areas of study of the art market to confront key issues and related methodologies that can be used to analyse the structures and principals of the art market. The first workshop was on art collectors and the third one will be on the emerging art market.

The conference will be opened by a keynote paper given by a renowned expert on artists’ careers in the contemporary art market – tbc

The market of the visual arts has been characterised by a traditionally short and apparently simple value chain, where between the supply (the artist) and the demand (collectors, museums) operate a growing variety of intermediaries (art galleries, dealers, critics, auction houses and, more recently, fairs and online platforms). The artist’s labour market is highly selective and uncertain, where most successful artists at the top of professional careers correspond to global celebrity brands. On the other hand, at the bottom, a multitude of emerging artists may require greater entrepreneurial skills, where risk-taking, networking and business and financial capacity can crucially complement talent.

What are the implications of these issues for artists’ career building, artistic innovation and value creation? What are the necessary skills for artists in order to emerge, consolidate and maintain their positions and compete on the labour market? What are the opportunities and challenges implied by the new technologies and, more in general technological innovation?

Entrepreneurialism is not new in the history of art, and has formed the career paths and life cycles – besides the art – of a number of famous, and less famous, artists. Entrepreneurialism also contributes to blur the separation of roles between the artists and their intermediaries (besides collectors) in, among others, the concept, production, organisation, promotion and distribution of new art, opening to new business models. In particular, the creation of the artists’ identity through the management of studio production, as evidenced by Damien Hirst or Muarakami is not new, as can be seen in the practices of artists from Rubens or the Brueghel families. Eventually, entrepreneurialism encourages less successful artists to invent alternative successful careers in other areas of the art market or elsewhere (through the internalisation of knowledge and network spillovers).

At the same time, we cannot face all these questions without considering the underlying aesthetic and ethical implications connected with the creation of artistic value. For instance, this allows us to reflect on certain artists’ conformism to market strategies in the past as in the present, perhaps aimed at diminishing the uncertainty of value creation in the market, favouring the star system and a homogeneity of taste, against the benefits of cultural diversity. Historic cases, where business as such might not be seen in the same way, will consider both how star artists created their identities and market and how critics and collectors created star artists Michaelangelo and Guido Reni being just two of such examples.


Paper submission and revised deadlines

We welcome submission of rigorous quantitative, theoretical, and/or qualitative studies contributing to treatment of the questions illustrated above. We particularly appreciate interdisciplinary submissions from the social sciences and the humanities.

Abstracts of papers of up to 300 words (in English) on the above mentioned topics should be sent to before September 21 2018. Notification of acceptance will be given by September 30 2018. Full papers (about 10,000 words) need to be submitted prior to the workshop by 10 December 2018.

Submissions should ideally be structured as follows:

  • Introduction (Problem definition, research gap and objective)
  • Theoretical foundation
  • Methodology / empirical research context
  • Finding/results
  • Implications for art market research and practice

Each paper accepted for presentation will be assigned a discussant who will provide in-depth feedback.

Registration for the workshop is free. It closes on 7 December, 2018.


Scientific committee
Prof. Elisabetta Lazzaro, Creative Economy-HKU University of the Arts Utrecht, The Netherlands
Prof. Nathalie Moureau, ART-Dev University Paul Valéry Montpellier 3, France
Adriana Turpin, IESA & Institute of Historical Research, London, United Kingdom


With the support of the Association of Cultural Economics International (ACEI).