Objectivity in the Arts

Michael Chappell

Michael Chappell, 4 November 2016

Objectivity means the state or quality of being true even outside of a subject's individual biases, interpretations, feelings, and imagining. There is a difference between objectivity (the ‘true’ answer) and multi-point subjectivity (a set of opinions on a common issue).

Culture Counts is a platform that supports expressions of multi-point subjectivity. There is rich insight in examining the variety of opinions held by artists, their peers, investors and the public about artistic works. By canvassing these opinions using terms that have standard meanings, sophisticated conversations ensue.

Gathering and reporting diverse opinions strengthens the understanding of artistic works and their various impacts on society. Using standard language and metrics builds a sector-wide view that forms the basis for a holistic value story for the arts. Without a value story, resources allocated to the arts will always be under threat. With a value story illustrating wide-reaching cultural, social and economic impacts, the arts has an ever more powerful investment case. 

While the arts sector has a way to go with data culture, there is an emerging recognition that a better account of value is possible.  Culture Counts supports and promotes the arts sector in their pursuit of a live action research project to find that better way. Richer dialogue and more interesting, informed exchanges about meaning, relevance and impact are already happening.  

But one thing is for sure – this is not an attempt to objectively define artistic quality – because that is inherently impossible and absolutely undesirable.

Main Image Source: Windrush at Hamer Hall - Photo by Brylee Green

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