Contemporary Art Commissioning: The Role of Universities
Why would the private business sector be motivated to work directly with a university to commission artwork, as opposed to an alternative provider and in turn, what factors have motivated universities to engage in this kind of commercial activity? This thesis focuses on two fine art commission projects, which have taken place over the past 15 years through two universities in the South East region of the United Kingdom - Norwich University of the Arts and the University of Hertfordshire. It considers the writings of art critic and contemporary art correspondent, Louisa Buck, and others, to frame a comparative study and critical analysis of the commissioning climate in the United Kingdom over the past 20 years. It also presents data and statistical information from Universities UK and Grant Thornton, to enable understanding of how university income streams have changed and adapted to government funding over the past 15 years, presenting a landscape of new or ‘third party’ income steams for universities. The thesis will consider whether these policies have encouraged universities to engage in more commercial projects through strategic policy and whether this has in turn potentially encouraged and instigated these two fine art commission projects, as well as other commercial developments.
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