Equity for Artists: Reflections on the Political Economy and Sociology of Ownership

Whitaker, Amy Clare. 2021. Equity for Artists: Reflections on the Political Economy and Sociology of Ownership. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

This PhD by publication synthesises eight years of work investigating economic
sustainability for artists, a body of work begun experientially fifteen years ago through
social-practice teaching. The unifying theme across the works is an exploration of
property and value by considering shared ownership and equity as a mode of
distributing resources more fairly and inclusively. The direct submission for the PhD
comprises the three fractional equity papers as well as two additional papers that show
the fractional equity work in application to intellectual property law and to cultural
heritage restitution, respectively. This thesis refers to other writings undertaken in the
past decade—in particular the books Art Thinking (2016) and Economics of Visual Art
(forthcoming, 2021) as well as further papers on blockchain, financial records in artists’
archives, and artists’ community investment trusts.

The first chapter places the work within a thematic context of how market value is
defined across art and economics, especially when the value of art often comes to be
known only over time. The second chapter offers a treatment of the submitted papers,
lacing them together as an inquiry into property. The third chapter distills the themes
investigated in the course of the PhD—notably valuation, commensuration, and
performativity—and offers related contextualization and reappraisal of my own work.
Because these papers traverse a broad set of methods across disciplines, the conclusions
also offer some reflection on interdisciplinary research.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):



fractional equity; fine art; property rights; commensuration; valuation; creativity; cultural economics; economic sociology

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Politics > Political Economy Research Centre


31 May 2021

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

27 Jul 2021 16:11

Last Modified:

07 Sep 2022 17:19



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