Cultural Labor as the core subject for cultural policy

UDC 321.911(477)

Oleksandra Oliinyk

Institute for Cultural Research, National Academy of Arts of Ukraine, Kyiv.

ORCID ID 0000-0002-2392-3938


Keywords: cultural policy, cultural labor, cultural worker, cultural space, subjectivity of the artist.

Abstract. The article hypothesizes the necessity to assess the potential of “cultural labor” – the social role of cultural workers, their needs, and the economic potential of creative employment to update approaches to cultural policy. The economic potential of culture directly depends on the subjectivity of artists, on the regulation of organizational and economic features of cultural space as an economic entity, the effectiveness of which should be reflected and maintained in the priorities of cultural policy. The definition of strategy and appropriate tactical actions are expected to maintain an effective balance between cultural value and economic potential, not contrasting, but combining these characteristics for the common good of society. The article considers the subjectivity of artists, as well as the methodology of cultural labor research, probable causes and definite inconsistencies in the analysis of cultural space (and cultural labor) in theoretical research in cultural studies, sociology of culture and economic theory.

Based on the fact that “cultural labor” is an interdisciplinary category by definition, the article presents both theoretical developments in the methodology of its research and practical context. Crucial for understanding of cultural labor is the changing subjectivity of cultural worker, which focuses on the protection of labor rights, participation in political and social movements, etc. However, the changes in social perception for artistic subjectivity remain equally important to disclose.

Author Biography.

Oleksandra Oliinyk, Ph.D. (Cultural Studies), head of the department of theory and history of culture, Institute for Cultural Research, National Academy of Arts of Ukraine, Kyiv.


Abbing, H. (2002). Why Are Artists Poor? The Exceptional Economy of the Arts. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press. 369 p. DOI:  

Apostol, Corina L. (2015). Art Workers between Precarity and Resistance: A Genealogy. ArtLeaks Gazette, no. 3: 7–21.

Grytsenko, O. (2019). Kulturnyi prostir i natsionalna kultura: teoretychne osmyslennia ta praktychne formuvannia [Cultural space and national culture: theorizing to reshaping]. Kyiv: Institute for Cultural Research of the NAA of Ukraine. 256 p. (in Ukrainian)

Heilbrun, James, & Gray, Charles M. (2001). The Economics of Art and Culture. New York: Cambridge University Press. 410 p.

Hesmondhalgh, David, & Pratt, Andy C. (2005). Cultural industries and cultural policy. International journal of cultural policy, 11 (1). Pp. 1–14. DOI:

Landrі, Ch. (2020). Kreatyvne mistotvorennia: yoho syla y mozhlyvosti [Creative city planning: its power and possibilities]. Translated from English by A. Diamant. Kharkiv: Folio. 252 p. (in Ukrainian)

Lazarenko, Valeriia, Lomonosova, Nataliia, Nazarenko, Yuliia, Filipchuk, Liliana, & Khasai, Yelyzaveta. (2021). Umovy pratsi u sferi kultury ta kreatyvnykh industrii [Working conditions in the field of culture and creative industries]. Kyiv: Analitychnyi tsentr Cedos. 155 p. (in Ukrainian)

Lee, H.-K., & Zhang, X. (2021). The Korean Wave as a source of implicit cultural policy: Making of a neoliberal subjectivity in a Korean style. International journal of cultural studies, 24 (3), 521–537. DOI:

NKU. (2012). Natsionalnyi klasyfikator Ukrainy[National Classifier of Ukraine]. Klasyfikatsiia vydiv ekonomichnoi diialnosti DK 009:2010. Retrieved from (in Ukrainian)

Oman, Susan. (2021). Evidencing culture for policy. Switzerland. 383 p.

Serafini, Paula, & Banks, Mark. (2020). Living Precarious Lives? Time and Temporality in Visual Arts Careers. Culture Unbound: Journal of Current Cultural Research. Vol. 12 No. 2: Independent Articles. P. 351–373. DOI:

SSSU. (No date). 1 Derzhavna sluzhba statystyky Ukrainy [1 State Statistic Service of Ukraine]. Retrieved from (in Ukrainian)

SSSU. (No date). 2 Derzhavna sluzhba statystyky Ukrainy [2 State Statistic Service of Ukraine]. Retrieved from (in Ukrainian)

Valli, C. (2017). Pushing borders. Cultural workers in the restructuring of post-industrial cities. Geographica 14. 153 p. Uppsala: Department of Social and Economic Geography.

Wikipedia: Gustave Courbet. (No date). Retrieved from Гюстав_Курбе (in Russian)

Zdioruk, S. I. (2012). Kulturna polityka Ukrainy: natsionalna model u yevropeiskomu konteksti [Cultural policy of Ukraine: national model in the European context]. Kyiv: NISD. 64 p. (in Ukrainian)

PDF (Ukrainian).


Vol 22 No 2 (2022).