Using quadratic voting on the blockchain, CultureStake’s playful front-end interface allows everyone to vote on the types of cultural activity they would like to see in their locality.
CultureStake democratises arts commissioning by providing communities and artists with a way to make cultural decisions together. It does this by giving communities a bigger say in the activities provided in their area, and by connecting artists and cultural organisations to better information about what is meaningful in different localities.
Using the CultureStake app, people are invited to consider the social and cultural relevance of particular artworks to their localities. And they are given a way to rank how strongly they feel about artworks and the issues they raise. Votes are tracked and made visible, giving evidence of the types of projects communities would most value.
Currently, major artists and cultural sponsors have the upper hand and this can result in one-size-fits-all ‘blockbuster’ programming. CultureStake is a practical response to a growing demand for greater transparency about how, and in whose interest, decisions about the public good are made. It opens the field for experimentation, for robust and sustainable alternatives to centralised and private decision-making practices.
The ultimate vision for CultureStake is that governance and funding of culture are put into the hands of audiences, artists and venues, acting together in and across localities and time.
In this way, we hope to increase a shared sense of agency, imagination, and alliances.
The CultureStake pilot is commissioned by the Leeds International Festival 2020 as part of Furtherfield’s Future Fairness. This is a family-friendly fair of art and technology activities to examine the future of the world we live in, and to invite participants to choose what they want to see in Leeds in the future.
Using the CultureStake voting app they will decide together which project they would like to see commissioned on a larger scale in Leeds.
Quadratic voting (QV) was developed as an improvement on one-person-one-vote collective decision-making processes. It attempts to address the associated “tyranny of the majority” problems and data loss about voter intentions (so well understood by Post Brexit citizens of the UK).
The significance of election and referenda results are dangerously open to interpretation and manipulation by authorities. By providing more information QV has the potential to allow communities of people to better understand what vote results say about their values and intentions.
All participants receive the same limited number of voting credits that they can distribute to express nuanced preferences. For this reason, voters only use their voting credits on things that matter to them. The quadratic system also enables participants to express the intensity of their preferences for all options, but it costs them proportionately (quadratically) more credits to express strong feelings. (See table)
The CultureStake system will store voting data about each artwork on the Ethereum blockchain (a cryptographically secured distributed database) to guarantee ongoing access to tamper-proof public data.
CultureStake tests the ability of QV on the blockchain to produce trusted voting data – secure, transparent, and permanent – about culture experienced in places.
> Voting creates communally-owned information about what matters to people on the culture that happens in places.
> Voting contributes to shared knowledge about collective preferences, attitudes, and values.
CultureStake Software is published under a GNU Affero General Public License v3.0 AGPL-3.0
Main Repository URL: https://github.com/lazaruslabs/culturestake
Smart Contracts Repository URL: https://github.com/lazaruslabs/culturestake-contracts
Subgraph Repository URL: https://github.com/lazaruslabs/culturestake-subgraph
Infrastructure Provisioning URL: https://github.com/lazaruslabs/culturestake-provisioning
CultureStake is a DECAL/Furtherfield project.
Concept by Ruth Catlow, Charlotte Frost & Marc Garrett. Contributions by Sam Hart, Irene Lopez de Vallejo, Gretta Louw, Rob Myers, Stacco Troncoso, and Ann Marie Utratel.
Technical development by Sarah Friend & Andreas Dzialocha.