Arts advocacy

Arts advocacy is about communicating the value of the arts and artistic practice for society. Learn to put the value and the importance of arts and culture into words and tailor your story to your discussion partner. Because every situation needs its own story, with accompanying arguments.

Artistic, social and economic value

It is vital for everyone who works in the arts and culture sector to stand up for this sector. Because the support for this sector has proven to be fragile in the past, it is important to clarify what makes arts and culture so valuable and meaningful, both socially and personally. Moreover if you can properly explain your own work and you can also properly formulate the intrinsic value of your field, that will be to the benefit to your own entrepreneurship.

The arts not only exist in recognised institutions, such as venues and museums; there is a very broad and diverse range of arts and culture in our society as a whole. Even if you are not actively looking for it, you are occupied with it all the same on a daily basis. Your clothing, the music that blares out your headphone, the buildings around you, a film, your favourite series or magazine... The arts and culture sector surrounds us the entire day and is also therefore of significance to people who do not directly see themselves as arts lovers.

The arts have an impact and therefore personal value, artistic value, social value and economic value. Substantiate your story as much as possible with clear arguments, examples, facts and figures that are in line with your discussion partner.

Role of the professionals

As a professional in this sector, you possess imagination, critical faculties and creative expertise. You develop these during your studies and in working life. As a result of this, you are able, for example, to transform a (personal) story or a reflection on social problems – alone or with others – into a new (art) form. In this way, you not only draw from society, but you also give back a reflection on these times. This is how you make an impact on society with your work.

The political arts lobby

Arts advocacy is used at the political level for the so-called ‘arts lobby’, where representative bodies, such as professional associations and trade unions, ensure that politicians and policymakers are made aware of the value of arts and culture. They do this by naming both measurable values and the intrinsic value of the arts. The entire sector benefits from the fact that professional organisations lobby for the arts at a political level. That only has a genuine impact if both arts institutions and creators express and disseminate why the arts is important for society. That is why you should also learn to tell and substantiate your own story.

Try it yourself: How would you describe the function of your work or field within our society?

'The best way to demonstrate the ubiquity of culture is to imagine what the world would be like without designers, musicians, artists or other creatives. Then our living environment would be reduced to efficient concrete blocks, television would become a drab one-size-fits-all and our clothing a combination of rags and bags. But the lack of cultural life would also be palpable on a smaller, more personal level. No examples for making TikTok videos, for example, or films and music that you can emulate as a teenager.'

Source: 'Arts 2030: On the way to culturebility' - a vision of Kunsten '92 on the future (in Dutch).