Crowd-patronage—Intermediaries, geographies and relationships in patronage networks

Jon Swords

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
58 Downloads (Pure)


This article introduces a new mode of patronage of the arts: crowd-patronage. In so doing the article illustrates the plural roles of intermediaries in patronage networks which go beyond Bourdieuian cultural intermediaries to include regulatory and financial actors. A brief history of patronage is presented which outlines different modes and eras of patronage for the arts since the 12th century. Particular attention is paid to the geographies of patronage networks, the mobility of artists, the plurality of roles played by intermediaries and the relations between patrons and artists. These themes then structure the analysis of crowd-patronage through a case study of the patronage platform Patreon in the remainder of the paper. Crowd-patronage is distinctive because of the scale and geographical scope of patronage networks, its focus on funding practice rather than outputs, a shift in the power relationships between patron and artist, and processes of re-intermediation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-73
Early online date28 Sept 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017


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