Managing Instability: Selected Case Studies in the Sustainability of Social Centers and Independent Cultural Centers in Italy and Europe

By Patrick Waldo and Laura Lee Odegaard.

Published by The Arts Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Politics, culture, and community collide in social centers and independent cultural centers throughout Italy and Europe. Together these eclectic arts spaces shape and foster contemporary art, arts practices, and artists in all its various disciplinary forms. The current study presents the preliminary observations of a two-phase project for policy makers, artists, and managers. Social centers and independent cultural centers significantly reduce fixed costs through squatting, receiving donated, recycled or found production or capital equipment, and relying on volunteers for management. They also diversify revenue streams through multi-disciplinary art offerings and multi-purpose spaces, in which non-cultural events such as rentals or yoga occur. Finally, social centers and independent cultural centers show high entrepreneurial activity in incubating and fostering new art and audiences, such as Hip-Hop, street art, or squat art. By activating non- or under-utilized buildings in ex-industrialized areas, they may also take part in mechanisms of urban renewal.

Keywords: Sustainability, Entrepreneurism, Prosumption, Cultural Policy, Cultural Management, Arts Management, Economics, Creative Industries, Squats, Social Centers, Independent Cultural Centers, Urban Social Movements

International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp.47-58. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 992.914KB).

Patrick Waldo

Graduate Student, Masters in Innovation and Organization of Culture and the Arts, School of Economics, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy

Patrick Waldo is a dual masters candidate at Carnegie Mellon University Heinz College of Public Policy and Management Masters of Arts Management program and the University of Bologna School of Economics Innovation and Organization of Culture and the Arts program. He received his bachelor’s in Art History at Grinnell College in Iowa. He has worked at the National Gallery in Prague as a lecturer and presented his research at the Czech and Slovak Museum in Cedar Rapids, IA on Alfons Mucha and Czech Identity. Prior to pursuing his masters he lived in Italy for two years teaching English.

Laura Lee Odegaard

Graduate Student, School of Economics, University of Bologna, Italy

Laura Odegaard is a dual masters candidate at Carnegie Mellon University Heinz College of Public Policy and Management Masters of Arts Management program and the University of Bologna School of Economics Innovation and Organization of Culture and the Arts program. She received her bachelor’s in Theatre and Geology at the University of Mary Washington in Virginia. She recently worked as a research and social media assistant for the Center for Arts Management and Technology, and a Development Assistant at the Mattress Factory Contemporary Art Museum. Prior to pursuing her masters, she worked at an arts education organization in Charlotte, NC and was a board member for The Contemporaries of the McColl Center for Visual Art.

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