Reflections upon the Role of Arts Institutions and their Leaders in Brazil and Germany, by Beth Ponte


Cultural institutions are by nature resilient organizations. They have to be because times are always difficult for the cultural sector and its dependence on public support. Cultural institutions therefore are familiar with dealing with the negative impacts of global economic downturns. They are commonly seen as dispensable when it comes to public funding and fight year after year against cuts in private sponsorship.

Another type of crisis is now demanding the attention of arts institutions and they already feel some of its effects: the crisis of democracy – if not as a political system, certainly as a set of values. Indeed, social democracy is at risk with the rise of right-wing and populism in Europe. And in the United States. And now also in Brazil.

It is no wonder that Cambridge Dictionary’s word of the year for 2017 was ‚populism.’ Defined by the Australian political scientist John Keane in an interview to the Brazilian section of El País, the biggest daily newspaper in Spanish, as “an autoimmune disease of democracy, it destroys the organs of control and marginalizes important sectors of society.” The cultural sector is not immune to the spread of populism and its effects. Actually, it’s quite the opposite: the arts and its institutions, as
a sector, and its agents, as individuals, are often populism’s first target. Are arts institutions and arts managers prepared for facing this new type of crisis?

Full article here: When Democracy is at Risk


From Arts Management Quarterly, April 2019, No. 131, pp 11-17, focusing on Arts Management in Times of Crisis.



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