Arts Council Norway

Research and Development

Goats at the Karlsøy festival. Photo: Stine Vorren

Goats at the Karlsøy festival. Photo: Stine Vorren

In order to meet future challenges, and to provide a solid platform for decision-making, the Arts Council develops, funds and commissions research programs, projects and publications.

Arts Council Norway stands at the intersection between fields of practice, cultural administration and the academic sector. This makes it an especially relevant forum for the production and exchange of knowledge.

One of our goals is to examine the existing cultural landscape, current trends and changes. Topical relevance and the application of sound scientific research are central elements of this activity. The R&D work strives to be investigative, non-dogmatic and seeks to involve a variety of academic traditions and perspectives.

Ongoing research projects

Art and Cultural Arenas

In recent years, there has been significant investment in new arenas for art and culture in Norway. At the same time, improvements in the physical infrastructure for arts and culture, has been paralleled by new ways art is created and communicated. New art practices have moved out from the theatres and galleries, thereby challenging established notions of where art should be on display. There has been important cultural-political debate over whether these two processes are related to each other. These issues are addressed in the research project. Uni Research Rokkan Centre is conducting the research.

Art! Power!

The Art! Power! project aims to produce new knowledge about how power is created and distributed, and how power relations are strengthened and weakened in today's Norwegian arts sector. The main themes include "power and the autonomy of art" and "understandings of quality". In particular, this project studies the interplay among the variety of actors in the field of arts including practitioners, politicians, and financial cultural institutions. Four fields of art are examined in a comparative perspective: performing arts, literature, music and visual art. The project is a collaborative between the University of Oslo, Telemark University College and Telemark Research Institute.

See full project description on the University of Oslo website. 

Church Music in Norway

Church music has long traditions in Norway, and has become an important part of the Church's religious mission. At the same time, Church music has unique aesthetic qualities independent of the religious context. The aim of this project is to provide knowledge on recent developments within this musical branch, through exploring both organizational and aesthetic conditions for professional church music in Norway. The Telemark Research Institute is conducting the research in cooperation with the Norwegian Academy of Music and KIFO.

The History of the Arts Council

In 2015, the Norwegian Arts Council celebrates its 50th anniversary. The establishment of the Arts Council was probably the single most important initiative in Norwegian cultural policy, in the last century. Its foundation transformed cultural life, and helped to increase cultural production and consumption radically. It also created a new level of management within cultural policy and administration. This serves as the basis for this research project which focuses on the history of the Arts Council. The research project aims to produce knowledge about Norwegian cultural policy and the role the Arts Council has played in its development. The book is written by Alfred Fidjestøl and will be published in November 2015.

Literature in a Digital Environment

The project aims to understand how digital technologies are changing literature and the literary landscape, both in Norway and internationally. The research focuses on relevant and pertinent questions such as: Which new literary forms are being established? How are questions of identity and the social and political consequences of digitization discussed in contemporary fiction? And how does the ongoing process of change challenge our understanding of fundamental concepts such as "writer", "reader" and "literature"? Rather than focusing on the book industry, or discussing literature as part of a wider field of digital media culture, "Literature in a digital environment" examines the aesthetic qualities of literature. The project is conducted by researcher in literature Øyvind Prytz.

Contact Øyvind Prytz

The Norwegian Music and Literature Industry

The purpose of this project is to estimate the economic value of the Norwegian literature and music industries. The data collected for this project intends to shed light on how the music and literature industry is developing, and to illustrate how different segments have varied over time. By providing a time series analysis, it is intended to form the basis for future statistical analysis of the music and literature sector. One of the main challenges facing this project is the development of a data collection methodology that can reliably be continued in years to come. The project is carried out by Rambøll Management Consulting.

Perspectives on Aesthetic Quality in the Cultural Field

This research program aims at raising awareness of, and reflecting on, the basis for the evaluation of aesthetic quality in the cultural field, including literature, music, the visual and performing arts, and the museums. How are artistic values and aesthetic qualities understood within the fields of cultural policy, cultural administration, criticism and the humanities? While encouraging a wide range of theoretical perspectives, the research program will help shed light on the many different understandings of quality in our time, and it will produce a conceptual framework for reflecting on the evaluation of quality in the art and culture sectors. The program was started in 2014, and will involve researchers from various academic institutions.

Preliminary Evidence of Spillover Effects in Europe

In January 2015, an EU-wide research project was launched with the aim of better understanding the methodologies that could be used to better measure spillover effects of public investment (public money awarded directly or indirectly by government funded industry bodies) in the arts, culture and the creative industries. A research alliance across Europe have contributed research to form an international evidence library. Tom Fleming Creative Consultancy was commissioned to analyse the evidence library - approximately 100 case studies (projects and activities) - and their spillover effects.

Read more on the project wiki-space. 


The Department for Research and Development focuses on information dissemination through delivering publications, seminars, conferences and facilitating dialogue. The R&D department publishes a series of evaluation reports and a book series with a wider thematic and theoretical scope.

List of evaluations, books and reports available for download (mainly in Norwegian)


Brochure about Research and Development at Arts Council Norway

Also available for download here. (pdf)