Pascal Gielen (1970) is full professor of sociology of art and politics at the Antwerp Research Institute for the Arts (Antwerp University - Belgium) where he leads the Culture Commons Quest Office (CCQO). Gielen is editor of the international book series Antennae-Arts in Society. In 2016 he became laureate of the Odysseus grant for excellent international scientific research of the Fund for Scientific Research Flanders (FWO) in Belgium. Gielen has published many books which are translated in English, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Turkish and Ukrainian. His research focuses on creative labour, the institutional context of the arts and on cultural politics. Gielen works and lives in Antwerp, Belgium.
Since the financial crisis started at the end of 2007 a lot of governments do budget cuts in the cultural and artistic field. Inspired by the critical social theory of Herbert Marcuse (1964), these policy decisions are understood within an ideological framework as ‘repressive liberalism’. That is a (cultural) politics that on the one hand proclaims individual freedom, stimulates cultural entrepreneurship and embraces the creative city, but on the other hand develops a large-scale decentralized control apparatus that strongly restricts individual and artistic freedom. Within this cultural policy creative labour itself can also be ‘instrumentalized’ as a repressive tool. In his lecture Pascal Gielen analyses the relationship between art, politics and the public space in the creative city. He also looks how activists and creative ‘workers’ respond to this policy by organizing themselves in alternative ways. The lecture is based on the FWO-Odysseus research ‘Sustainable Creativity in the Post-Fordist City’ (2016-2021) and the books ‘Interrupting the City’ (Valiz, 2015), ‘The Art of Civil Action’ (Valiz, 2017) and ‘Exploring Commonism’ (Valiz, 2018).