portion of ITCP,2 commercial resources are not sufficient to sustain ITCP, to make the most of its potential, or to broaden access to its benefits. Further, commercial activity is not evenly distributed. For example, the market for computer music is much smaller than that for computer graphics, which itself is skewed toward entertainment products. As in other arenas, non-market resources can often be invaluable in exploring areas where a market has yet to be or cannot be established. Also, there are non-market, public policy reasons for supporting ITCP activity, or the infrastructure for such activity, as discussed in Chapter 1.

This chapter focuses on non-commercial—government and philanthropic—funding for ITCP because (1) it is linked to the most exploratory and least mission-constrained activity;3 (2) in the context of academic institutions, in particular, it is linked to education and human capacity building, which benefits activity across sectors; (3) it is most likely to sustain the non- and pre-institutionalized activities that have been significant in early ITCP and are associated with a significant component of the arts; and (4) it is associated with a broader set of public-interest objectives than commercial funding (which tends to be linked to production and distribution of a product). Inasmuch as commercial activities are synergistic with those in non-profit contexts, spending on ITCP in any one arena may be leveraged elsewhere.

Although government and philanthropic funding for ITCP has a broader scope than funding linked to creating and distributing commercial products, it comes with a range of conditions. Its effectiveness increases to the extent that funds-seekers can “see” ITCP through the strings on a given pool of funds and decreases to the extent that funds-seekers see those strings as constraints on their creativity.4 Committee member attitudes ranged from seeing no substitute for resources they could use at their discretion to accepting pragmatically the strings that would link activities in ITCP to funders’ interests as well as their own.5 The funding challenge lies in ensuring that practitioners and funders have enough common interests to nurture a vigorous spec

2  

There are important differences between “art” and “craft,” and commercial funding generally applies to “craft.”

3  

An analogy can be made to fundamental research for information technology: IT research and development overall is spread across commercial and educational (nonprofit) organizations. Almost all of the commercial activity supports development of products, while the most exploratory work—fundamental research—is associated with government-funded activity in universities. See Computer Science and Telecommunications Board, National Research Council, 2000, Making IT Better: Expanding Information Technology Research to Meet Society’s Needs, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.

4  

Artists have their own vision and agenda, which often does not coincide with what someone else wants or needs to have made at a given point in time. These realities put artistic creativity at odds with conventional market forces. See Richard E. Caves, 2000, Creative Industries: Contracts Between Art and Commerce, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass.

5  

Their positions varied with the degree to which they saw themselves as artists, and among the artists, the degree to which they favor a conception of art as self-expression, versus more collaborative or socially shaped conceptions of art.



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