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Learning arts organisations: innovation through a poetics of relation.

Gulari, Melehat Nil; Fremantle, Chris


Melehat Nil Gulari


Arts organisations have had to reimagine their ways of working, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic has severely challenged the venue-based sectors and exposed the fragility of the existing business model of the ‘receiving house'. We use a specific example to address the following question: In what sense can artists lead organisational innovation, learning and change? We analyse Riffing the Archive: Building a Relation project by MARIE ANTOINETTE (MA), an artist duo from Portugal, and their collaboration with the Barn, a multi-art centre in Banchory, Scotland, during the coronavirus pandemic in 2021. Édouard Glissant, Martinique-born poet and philosopher, underpins both MA’s practice and our analysis. We draw on the key concepts of his relational philosophy, including archipelago, opacity, and disaffiliation, to clarify how MA work, what they have offered the Barn and can offer to other art organisations seeking innovation and organisational learning. MA’s nuanced approach, informed by Glissant, reconfigures the relationship between artist and art organisation, challenges existing assumptions through discontinuous and new thinking while building a non-confrontational relationship with the Barn. It contributes to both organisational studies and arts research by highlighting the significance of MA’s approach to organisational innovation.


GULARI, M.N. and FREMANTLE, C. 2021. Learning arts organisations: innovation through a poetics of relation. Arts [online], 10(4): eight hours labour, eight hours recreation, eight hours rest: what we will need is more time for what we will (?), article 83. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 19, 2021
Online Publication Date Dec 2, 2021
Publication Date Dec 31, 2021
Deposit Date Dec 9, 2021
Publicly Available Date Dec 9, 2021
Journal Arts
Electronic ISSN 2076-0752
Publisher MDPI
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 10
Issue 4
Article Number 83
Keywords Artist-led innovation; Édouard Glissant; Relational philosophy; Organisational change; Organisational learning; Practice-led research; COVID-19; Adaptation
Public URL


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