Primary page content

‘Neoliberalism’ and Cultural Values: Challenges for Artists, Professor Victoria D. Alexander

Professor Victoria Alexander gave a keynote address to the conference Another Artworld: Manifestations and Conditions of Equity in Visual Arts on 3 December 2020 in Belgrade, Serbia (via Zoom).

The talk draws on Professor Alexander’s work on hetronomy in the arts field and on work on the EU-funded UNCHARTERED project, with Goldsmiths’ colleague Oliver Peterson Gilbert. The talk, entitled, ‘”Neoliberalism” and Culture Values: Challenges for Artists’ and can be viewed on YouTube here.


Neoliberalism has affected cultural values in the UK and the European Union. Neoliberalism, defined as a market-oriented ideology, has been taken up especially in Anglo-Saxon contexts, but also in various ways and degrees across the whole of Europe. Many of these effects are negative, for instance, shifts to the measurement of the social value of art by extrinsic yardsticks (such as economic and social impacts), rather than valuing art intrinsically. Neoliberal discourse also accompanies the decline of state support for the arts that is also accompanied by more market-based control mechanisms, all of which affect equity in the visual arts. Based on research from the EU-funded UNCHARTED project, this talk explores the extent to which cultural values are negatively impacted in such ways. In addition, as a counterpoint, the talk also looks at how neoliberalism influenced some positive cultural values, for instance, more inclusive exhibitions and performances, as well as opening spaces for resisting discourses and DIY actions. By gauging the extent of the penetration of neoliberal discourse into European cultural values, the talk identifies challenges for visual artists.

The conference, at the University of Arts Belgrade and associated with the UNESCO Chair in Cultural Policy and Management, was organized with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture and Media of the Republic of Serbia, the Austrian Kulturforum (Austrian Embassy in Belgrade), in partnership with the Association of Fine Artists of Serbia, and was supported by the European Network on Cultural Management and Policy ENCATC.

Comments are closed.