Professor Eleonora Belfiore
Professor of Communication and Media Studies
I joined Loughborough in May 2016 from the University of Warwick, where I had been working since 2004. My PhD thesis (2006, Warwick) was a comparative study of post-1980s cultural policies in Italy and England and the growing prominence of an economic instrumental rationality in the development of arts and heritage policy in the two countries. Since then, I have developed further my exploration of discursive formations, and I have developed an international profile in policy sensitive research which combines a scholarly and critical drive with a commitment to facilitating public engagement with research and collaborations with non-academic partners, mostly from the cultural and creative sectors and from the third sector.
Recent externally funded projects are:
- Understanding Everyday Participation – Articulating Cultural Values (AHRC Connected Communities large grant)
- The politics of cultural value: Towards an emancipatory framework (AHRC Cultural Value Project)
- Artist-led contributions to the cultural value agenda: developing theory, methods and policy insight (AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award in partnership with a-n, The Artist Information Company, awarded to artist Emilia Telese).
I am the creator and editor of a curated blog The Cultural Value Initiative, which aims to bring together perspectives from academia, creative practice, arts management, policy-maker and media cultural commentary on questions of cultural value, arts and creative industries policy and cultural analysis.
As a great believer in the University as a public institution with a duty to contribute to the flourishing of a fairer society and engage in wider intellectual and political debates over issues of relevance to our contemporary lives, public engagement activities are a significant part of my academic work. This commitment comes from a belief in the power (as well as the duty) of cultural analysis to play an active role in an emancipatory political project through the fostering of critical thought within the academy and beyond.
In this spirit, I have have been presenting my work internationally to professional communities of cultural administrators, cultural policy-makers and local authority administrators for years, and well before the rise of the ‘impact agenda’ within British academia. I have been involved in parliamentary roundtables and have been invited to advise ministerial staff on cultural policy development. Between 2013 and 2015, whilst in my previous post at Warwick University, I was Director of Studies for the Warwick Commission on the Future of Cultural Value and co-author of its influential report Enriching Britain: Culture, Creativity and Growth(2015).
My long-term research interests are focused on the cultural politics of decision-making in the cultural sphere. In particular, I have written about public funding of the arts and the arguments used to justify it in a public policy context, and the way in which cultural policy overlaps with other areas of public policy-making,
in particular social and economic development policy. This range of interests has led me to an in-depth investigation of: the social impact of the arts and its place in cultural policy rhetoric; the notion of the transformative power of the arts that underline the impact discourse, and – more recently, the problem of cultural value, and how it can be articulated and discussed in policy discourse in ways that do not rely on a reductively economic understanding of ‘value’. I am working on a book exploring the struggles for power and symbolic domination that are behind processes for both the formal and informal allocation of cultural value to different forms of creative expression and consumption.
From September 2016 I will be teaching on a number of undergraduate and postgraduate modules and I will be developing a new module on cultural diplomacy. I am module convenor for the MA Dissertation module.
I am happy to supervise doctoral students on any of my areas of interest and expertise.