Hirvi-Ijäs, Maria and Renko, Vappu: Artisthood as a differentiated profession – going from societal status to a living part of a constantly changing cultural ecosystem

In my presentation I am pondering upon methodologies in current studies of the societal conditions of the artist. The idea of the artist is often understood and articulated through collected data on education, income, position in the so called artworld, professionalism and reputation. The status of the profession is viewed in comparison to the general labor market and/or established socioeconomic structures. Still the core of artisthood is evading us. The viewpoint seems to need a shift and one suggestion is that we instead should be using the changing, living active position of the artists themselves as a point of departure.

Is it possible to leave the need of defining the artists profession through socioeconomic structures and instead open the field of thought to a differentiated idea of a lifelong span of a profession, functioning within a changing ecosystem? What are the areas and societal spheres of artistic activities that we need to pin down to be able to give relevant facts as research results? When is it necessary to define who is an artist? The research material referred to is collected during 2015-2019 through the Art and Culture Barometer-project as a collaboration between Cupore and The Arts Promotion Center in Finland.