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Office for Public Culture

The Office for Public Culture is a platform for research, public dialogue, and the creation of cultural productions that motivate public discourse. The Project enacts these functions with the involvement of artists, scholars and residents.

The project was developed with support from the Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies at Grand Valley State University. It now operates as an independent project.

This web site is now in an archival state and will not be updated. Please visit our new web site which is under development at
- April 2016


Max Haiven: Lecture and Discussion

   Office for Public Culture presents Max Haiven in a lecture and discussion in Grand Rapids:

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

Discussion at 3pm at the Fed Galleries @ KCAD Facebook event
Lecture at 6:30pm at the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts Facebook event


In this era, cities, entrepreneurs, and investors often use the idea of creativity to express their commitment to innovation, progress, and dynamism. With such powerful interests advocating for creativity, are we seeing the dawn of a new freely expressive moment that values imagination and culture? In his new book "Crisis of Imagination, Crisis of Power", Max Haiven argues that we are instead experiencing a suppression of the social and civic functions of the imagination, and that this dysfunction is at the core of our most pernicious problems: inequality, ecological destruction, and the feelings of hopelessness and futility toward any viable alternatives.

The ideas in "Crisis of Imagination, Crisis of Power" are relevant to artists, activists, urbanists, educators, and entrepreneurs, especially those interested in the central role that culture and creativity can play in the development of alternate ways of living required to overcome these challenges. Max Haiven provides pathways through these difficulties starting with a constructive critique based on clear, scholarly analysis.

Dr. Haiven will engage these topics in a lecture and discussion both free events and open to the public. He comes to Grand Rapids as part of an international speaking tour that includes presentations in Berlin, Istanbul, Thessaloniki (Greece), Sapporo (Japan), Los Angeles, Oakland, Vancouver, Montreal, and Vilnius (Lithuania).

Max Haiven is a writer, teacher and organizer, and an Assistant Professor in the Division of Art History and Critical Studies at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax, Canada. His research focuses on themes including the financialization of society and culture, social movements and the radical imagination, the politics and economics of culture, critical art practices, and social and cultural theory. He writes articles for both academic and general audiences and has been published in venues including Truth-Out, Dissident Voice, Social Text, Cultural Studies, Cultural Politics and Interface: A Journal For and About Social Movements. He is author of the books Crises of Imagination, Crises of Power: Capitalism, Creativity and the Commons (Zed Books, 2014), The Radical Imagination: Social Movement Research in the Age of Austerity (with Alex Khasnabish, Zed Books, 2014) and Cultures of Financialization: Fictitious Capital in Popular Culture and Everyday Life (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014).

These events are presented by the Office for Public Culture at GVSU and are co-sponsored by: the Visual Studies Studio in the Department of Art and Design at GVSU, The Fed Galleries at Kendall College of Art and Design (KCAD), and the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts.

Art, Money, and Labor in Practice: Culture Work in the Creative City

Facebook event
Tuesday, October 21, 3:00- 4:30 pm
Fed Galleries @ KCAD
17 Pearl St. NW, Grand Rapids, MI
Artists, Students, Activists, Creatives and Cultural Entrepreneurs are invited to a discussion with Max Haiven on the practical realities of cultural work and the complex dynamics and processes at play when art, money, and labor engage in the creative city. The discussion will draw from Dr. Haiven's work (text links available in advance) and from works on display in the "I Am: Money Matters" exhibit in the Fed Galleries KCAD.

lecture and book launch
Crisis of Imagination, Crisis of Power: Capitalism, Creativity, and the Commons

Facebook Event
Tuesday, October 21, 6:30pm
Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts
2 Fulton West, Grand Rapids, MI
Dr. Haiven will present the major ideas from his book with a special focus on the enclosure of creativity.

Link to Full-Size Poster

Recommended Texts

Here are some recommended resources in advance of these events:

Privatizing Creativity: The Ruse of Creative Capitalism on Art Threat

Capitalism's Crisis of Value and Imagination on Truth-Out

Crises of Imagination, Crises of Power Roar Magazine

Money and Art: an Interview with Max Haiven in CRIT at the Institute of Networked Cultures

Money as Artistic Media: Coins of the Realm part of a symposium at Dunedin School of Art in New Zealand.

The Debt of Creativity a TED talk at TEDxNovaScotia

The Art and Money Project: Exploring the Nexus of Creativity and Capitalism on Art Threat

More Articles

More Essays

More Talks and Interviews

Press from the event:
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