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Independent Performing Arts Sector as a Part of the Third Sector inTransition
This article examines the Finnish independent performing arts sector as a part of the so-called third (non-profit and voluntary) sector. The independent performing arts sector is analyzed from the viewpoint of the changing nature of the new third sector as identified in recent research. The aim of the article is to describe the agents in the manifold independent sector of performing arts and to analyze what kind of forms the elements important to the so-called new third sector, organizational membership and paid labour, take in the independent performing arts. From the genres of performing arts, theatre, dance, circus and performance art are investigated. There are two sets of data. Quantitative data consists of the number of productions performed in the Helsinki region during 2009–2011 by the independent performing arts sector and the number of the artists participating in those productions. The qualitative data includes case studies from 16 independent performing arts groups from around Finland. In addition to case studies, research methods include typification and network analysis. This article is concerned especially with four identified transitions in the third sector: from volunteerism to professionalism, from institutions to informal groups, from influencing to performing services and from traditional membership to different forms of participation. We conclude that the independent sector in the performing arts consists of a variety of forms of organization, and the volume of productions by groups that are not formally organized is significant. Membership has several different meanings, and they often differ from the traditional notion of the concept. In the independent sector of the arts different forms of employment and labour are mixed. The independent performing arts sector uses many familiar third sector features such as forms of organization, tradition of volunteering and light administration to organize and fund its activities, but it also moves freely outside the third sector conventions, borrows and creates its own ways, which are sometimes again borrowed by actors outside the arts sector.
Keywords: Independent arts sector, performing arts, third sector