CFP: Workshop – The Artist as an Entrepreneur & Career Paths (Utrecht, Dec 17-18, 2018)


Workshop 2 – The Artist as an Entrepreneur & Career Paths

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


We are pleased to invite you to participate to the Second International Workshop The Artist as an Entrepreneur & Career Paths, organised by Creative Economy – HKU University of the Arts Utrecht on December 17-18 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 add knowledge and evidence about 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 market of the visual arts has been characterised by a traditionally short and apparently simple value chain, where between the supply (artists) and the demand (collectors, museums) there is 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; more at the bottom, a multitude of emerging artists may require greater entrepreneurial skills, where risk-taking, networking and business and financial capacity crucially complement talent.

What are the implications of these issues for artists’ career building, artistic innovation and value creation, also from an historical perspective? What are the necessary skills for artists in order to emerge and consolidate 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? From a public policy perspective, what are favouring (or disfavouring) schemes being put in place in support of artists? And how can visual artists be a special case?

Entrepreneurialism is not new in the history of art and has affected the career paths and life cycles of a number of famous and less famous artists, besides influencing their art itself. 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, distribution and pricing of new art, opening to new business models. For instance, the creation of the artist’s identity through the management of studio production, as evidenced by Hirst or Muarakami is not new, as it was in the practices of artists such as Rubens or the Bruegel family. Finally, entrepreneurialism supports less successful artists to invent alternative successful careers with other roles on the art market, or in other sectors outside the art market (also through the internalisation of knowledge and network spillovers).

At the same time, we cannot face all these questions without considering the underlying aesthetic and ethic implications connected with the creation of the artistic value. For instance, this allows us to reflect on a certain artists’ conformism to market strategies 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, highlight how critics and collectors created star artists, Michelangelo and Guido Reni being just two examples of how far the artist consciously affirmed herself on the market.


Paper submission and deadlines

We welcome submissions of rigorous quantitative, theoretical, and/or qualitative studies contributing to the topic illustrated above. We particularly appreciate submissions from different disciplines of the social sciences and the humanities as well as interdisciplinary submissions.

Abstracts of papers of up to 300 words (in English) on the above mentioned topics should be sent to before September 15, 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 before November 30, 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.

The registration to the workshop is free. It closes on December 7, 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

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Utrecht Artist Call