Where all the world has a stage
: Culturgest and the purpose beyond profit

  • Maria Martins de Carvalho (Student)

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


There are countless debates around museums and their function in issues of exclusion or inclusion, hegemony or counter-culture; by excellence, museums are the spaces of duality. But what about new museums, not-quite-museums: multi-disciplinary cultural institutions? These venues take on a role of social centre which necessitates action around empathy, community building, and cohesion, potentially making them places of human development and democratic incentive. It is this potential that the present dissertation aims to analyse.To do so, this dissertation revolves around the study of Culturgest, a public bank owned cultural institution, and looks into the democratising mission it takes on, especially under the stewardship of the new curatorial team. Despite being one of the most important cultural institutions in Lisbon, Culturgest has not yet been the object of any comprehensive study of its social purpose – further research must be conducted beyond this work to gauge the success of the new team’s endeavours in years to come.This study mostly rests upon literature review and semi-structured interviews. First, the author looks into the artistic theoretical foundations that underpin Culturgest’s activity and how it concretises them; secondly, the author investigates if there may be macro- and para-economic benefits that come from supporting this kind of institutions.Finally, this dissertation concludes that cultural institutions are playing a key role in today’s informal education sector, whose impact should not be understated, and that attempting to further justify cultural investment by citing economic returns may be counter-productive.
Date of Award11 Feb 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorLuísa Leal de Faria (Supervisor)


  • Culturgest
  • Cultural institution
  • Democracy
  • Informal education and cultural economy


  • Mestrado em Estudos de Cultura

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