Building on the work carried out by a group of EMES members interested in the critical and transformative potential of culture and the arts and their crossing with social enterprise (SE), Rocío Nogales Muriel, Linda Lundgaard Andersen and Silvia Ferreira co-edit a special issue of the Social Enterprise Journal. Following the first gathering of this group in Malta in the framework of the EmpowerSE COST Action, communication was continued among participants, resulting in an EMES Affinity Group devoted to advancing research in these areas. A concrete result of this joint work was the inclusion of this emerging research area as one of the thematic lines of the 8th EMES International Research Conference held in Spain in 2021.
This special issue constitutes a new milestone for the work of this Affinity Group, and it focuses on the role of SE and the social and solidarity economy (SSE) as well as third sector organizations (TSOs) in the sustainability of local communities and society at large. SE initiatives in culture and the arts are diverse and include an economic dimension related to sustaining artistic and cultural expressions through the market and non-market relations, on the one hand, and embedding cultural and artistic dimensions in socio-economic relations, on the other. Growth in the arts-based social enterprises points to a growing interest in how the arts can support social and economic development and the ways new economic models can generate employment for individuals excluded from the labour market.
Drawing from the critical and transformative potential of culture and the arts, this special issue focuses on the role of SE and SSE, as well as TSOs, in the sustainability of local communities and society at large, inviting contributions within the following themes:
- Transformative social innovation through culture and the arts
- Social and economic inclusion to and through culture and the arts
- Cultural policy in a period of transformation for culture and the arts
- Culture as a field of eco-social transitions