Perspectives on the roles of the creative author and artist in the changing audiovisual media ecology in Flanders
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The research question central to Eva Van Passel's PhD research, supervised by Prof. Dr. Caroline Pauwels, is to which extent the creative author and artist are economically sustainable and sufficiently remunerated actors in the changing audiovisual media ecology. Although creative content lies at the basis of the media ecology, the role and economic position of the individual creative author and artist seems rather weak and is marked by a distinct lack of empirical insight, especially in light of the transitions the media ecology is going through. First, at a theoretical level, the proposed research maps the interdisciplinary theoretical and policy perspectives on the role and economic position of the author and artist in the audiovisual sector. Second, at a theoretical-empirical level, the range of actors that creative authors and artists have financial and contractual relations with will be researched. Third, the research aims at gaining insight into the monetary flows to creative authors and artists. Fourth, based on the theoretical and empirical findings, the authors' and artists' positions within the value network are evaluated. The empirical challenge will be to identify and evaluate emerging models outside the traditional media ecology flows. The overarching objective in this regard is to conceptualise alternative mechanisms of remuneration, not only within the existing ecology and policy framework, but also, if deemed required, by proposing alternative legal and policy frameworks.

This PhD is part of the Strategic Research Program "Towards a Sustainable Media Ecology? The Case of the Flemish Audiovisual Industry" at iMinds-SMIT, Vrije Universiteit Brussel. The relevance of this track for the SRP lies in its focus on the position of the individual creator in the audiovisual value chain; while being the most fragile part of the value chain and very important in light of the need of high quality content, the individual creator is often ignored in media economics and studies on the changing media ecology. Introducing this track in the SRP adds to the quality and ‘completeness’ of studying different parts of the value chain, including thus creation at the individual and organization level, packaging, distribution and consumption.