a working paper by Janet Merkel:

The financial survival of many cultural organisations has been shaken, and for some shattered, during the COVID pandemic—at a time when organisations were just coming back from the shock of the global financial crisis and the austerity that ensued in many EU member states. To date, the funding situation, and financial channels of GLAMs remain underexplored in cultural policy and cultural economics literature, especially in a European context as most studies on public funding, earned income, and fundraising are limited to the US and UK. Based on a literature review, a policy mapping across the EU-27 member states, and the result of the GLAMMONS survey that contained several items on the financial situation of GLAMs, this working paper discusses cultural policy changes after the pandemic and the specific changes with the funding of GLAMs and shifts in their financial structure. This working paper aims to gain a broader understanding of the field and get deeper insights into the challenges that GLAMs faced before the COVID-19 pandemic and after it.

The main findings can be summarized as:

  • Since the financial crisis there have been massive shifts in the funding situation of GLAMs. The decline of public funds was mainly replaced with private grants and earned income.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic created again massive decline in income, contributions, and public funding yet most organisations could be stabilized through governmental rescue packages.
  • Alternative fundings are still used not much. When new funding instruments are discussed then usually market-based solutions are discussed, community-based financing is not an issue yet in cultural policy debates.
  • Massive data gaps about:
    • GLAMs in general. While museums and libraries are fairly well-researched, galleries and archives are not. Most research covers big organisations; less is known about the situation of small and mid-sized organisations.
    • Funding situation of GLAMS within and across different GLAM sectors. For example, on archives, there is hardly any available data.
    • Spatial differences and inequalities between core and non-core regions and the support of GLAM with capital regions most often getting the most private contributions.
    • There is little knowledge of donations and civil society support of culture through voluntary work or donations on the local level.

While the findings of the Survey are not representative and only preliminary with a partial exploration of the research topics, they give indications for our shared research on GLAMMONS and can be considered a good starting point for future investigations.

Download PDF