Deciding which cultural economics session to attend

Economists spend a lot of time figuring out the factors that influence a decision. They determine which factors are more important than others and to what extent they contribute to the decision making process. The availability of information is key to informed decisions. Also important is awareness of one’s preferences and values. On the third day of this international conference on cultural economics (ACEI 2010 in Copenhagen), I had to choose one of 8 parallel sessions to attend

Economists spend a lot of time figuring out the factors that influence a decision. They determine which factors are more important than others and to what extent they contribute to the decision making process. The availability of information is key to informed decisions. Also important is awareness of one’s preferences and values.

On the third day of this international conference on cultural economics, I had to choose one of 8 parallel sessions to attend from 09:00 to 10:30 before a half-hour coffee break and one of 3 panel discussions from 11:00 to noon. The rooms were dispersed on the ground floor, first floor, and second floor of the impressive and spacious building of Copenhagen Business School.

As a musician, I am interested in the topics to do with music, performance, concert production, marketing, copyrights, and musicians’ careers. As an individual, I am also curious what I could learn from areas outside of music, especially topics I have absolutely no background, on the assumption that I might be surprised and learn something useful.

In short, I could find every topic interesting. The 8 parallel sessions were arranged by topic. Each session offered three to four papers. The titles, authors, and abstracts were available online weeks ago. A majority of the 185 papers submitted for presentation (which ranged from a few pages to 30 or 40 more) were available as PDF download from the ACEI 2010 website.

If only I could clone myself or send agents to the ones I did not attend, I would be quite happy.

In the end I used the process of elimination to eventually narrow down to two sessions. Can you guess which session I chose to attend?

Cultural tourism 1:
care of historical belongings, good practice in Europe, cultural heritage routes in South Africa

Creativity 3:
cultural clusters and the example in Copenhagen, sustainable town development example of a Japanese town, Italian viewpoint of culture-led local development

Copyrights 3:
license and rights distribution for copyright uses on the Web, intellectual property rights case of 19th century Italian operatic music, effects of early music copyrights on composers’ careers

Art market 2:
role of digital information sources in the art market prices, expert evaluations in the Low countries, investment in visual art

Media 1:
influence of funding by advertising on diversity of TV broadcast, how broadcasting quotas harm program diversity, control European TV in the digital age

Funding 3:
do policy reviews matter study of arts in Australia, sponsoring in times of economic crisis

Demand 2:
threatre participation through attendance, consumer choice of theatrical productions, democratisation in the gastronomic market

Museums 3:
who contributes to the British Museum, pay as you go for museum pricing, causes of variation in museum attendance rate in USA, museum demand function estimation

Access to culture without knowing the language

Culture vultures love going to museums, concerts, theatre, and other indulgences. Without a guide or translator, one is left with images and sound. No amount of text in the unfamiliar language can help with better comprehension of the “cultural experience.” If you are a tourist, a short-term visitor, an expat, or someone who is linguistically challenged, I daresay it is a big problem indeed.

Language is the key to a culture. So I’ve been told.

What if you don’t understand the language? Are you then not able to appreciate the culture?

Culture vultures love going to museums, concerts, theatre, and other indulgences. Without a guide or translator, one is left with images and sound. No amount of text in the unfamiliar language can help with better comprehension of the “cultural experience.”

There is a lot of culture in the Netherlands. A lot of performances and exhibitions of very high quality, I must add. However, much of the publicity of such events is communicated only in Dutch. The programme notes are not translated into English or other languages. I have been to museums where the text is only in Dutch.

When I protest to my Dutch friends, they reply “but Dutch is our language. What’s the problem?”

If you are a tourist, a short-term visitor, an expat, or someone who is linguistically challenged, I daresay it is a big problem indeed. I have tried to learn Dutch. I could get by. But when it comes to a deeper understanding of a cultural event, such as the history of a concerto, the background behind an artistic collaboration, or the libretto to an opera,I and other culture vultures are left behind.

That is why I prefaced my review of a new play “Love Dolls” on its tour in Holland.

Feel free to comment on this blog about my review and this blog.