Stakeholder engagement in infrastructure projects through art in infrastructure delivery

Furneaux, Craig W., Brown, Kerry A., & McCabe, Angela C. (2008) Stakeholder engagement in infrastructure projects through art in infrastructure delivery. In Brown, Kerry A., Mandell, Myrna, Furneaux, Craig W., & Beach, Sandra (Eds.) Contemporary Issues in Public Management : The Twelfth Annual Conference of the International Research Society for Public Management (IRSPM XII), 26 – 28 March 2008, Brisbane, QLD.


Government is a major client of infrastructure projects and can exert considerable influence on the industry sector through the government’s regulatory power and the sheer scale of procurement of public works currently underway in Australia at the moment. Government can also seek to satisfy a range of different interests in the delivery of infrastructure projects in order to achieve multi-outcome objectives of government. However, the best way of engaging with stakeholders in the planning and delivery of public works has yet to be resolved, and is the focus of this panel.

To explore the engagement of stakeholders within the planning and delivery of public works in Australia, this paper will examine a distinctive aspect of the delivery of infrastructure projects in Australia – public art. Specifically, the paper examines how an innovative policy for integrating the acquisition and creation of public art into public infrastructure projects in Western Australia can serve as a mechanism for understanding how to engage stakeholders in the planning and delivery of infrastructure projects in a democratic polity.

Public art in infrastructure projects in Western Australia is implemented through a Percent for Art policy. The Western Australian Percent for Art policy mandates a percentage of the funding for an infrastructure project be allocated to the development of public art. The public art works are typically integrated into the function or form of the infrastructure itself and have a practical as well as aesthetic purpose. An outcome of the Percent for Art policy is the requirement to engage stakeholders normally excluded from decision making in the procurement process, particularly the users and wider community associated with infrastructure projects.

Watermayer (2000) suggests that procurement linked to social objectives may produce positive economic benefits including acting as a stimulant to economic activity, improving competitiveness with other sectors, redressing regional disparity, promoting employment of those in disadvantaged employment groups, allowing environmental sustainability and developing markets for locally sourced labour and products. However, the mix of market and state-driven imperatives in contractual arrangements is not without problems. Potential difficulties identified by Watermayer (2000) include issues of overburdening administrative capacity of governments in procurement oversight, creating unfair competition, compromising value for money in projects, creating a situation in which the private sector is unable to deliver efficient and effective projects and exposing government to high level risk. Based on qualitative case study research, this paper argues that the Percent for Art policy provides a mechanism that engages key stakeholders into decision making processes concerning infrastructure projects which would not occur without the policy being in place. The stakeholder engagement will be demonstrated to result in a number of unique outcomes that includes increased ownership of the asset, reduced vandalism, and enhanced function of the asset. The outcomes are largely a result of the way that the engagement occurs under the Percent for Art policy and how the policy practically influences the perceived legitimacy of the infrastructure project. This research project examines in detail these potential benefits and costs from the perspectives of a variety of stakeholders. This paper investigates public works procurement policies in Western Australia with the embedded social objectives of the provision of public art, particularly how such policies facilitate the engagement of a larger range of stakeholders than would otherwise be the case.

An overview of public art and percent for art from an economics perspective is undertaken in the next section which will provide a suitable foundation for a detailed analysis of the costs and benefits of this policy from the perspective of a variety of stakeholders.

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ID Code: 15319
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: The contents of this conference can be freely accessed online via the conference's web page (see hypertext link).
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Public Art, Infrastructure, Stakeholders, Public Policy, Public Sector
ISBN: 1741072158
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > POLICY AND ADMINISTRATION (160500) > Public Policy (160510)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT (150300) > Business and Management not elsewhere classified (150399)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > POLICY AND ADMINISTRATION (160500) > Public Administration (160509)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Australian Centre for Business Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Research Centres > CRC Integrated Engineering Asset Management (CIEAM)
Current > Schools > School of Accountancy
Current > Schools > School of Advertising, Marketing & Public Relations
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2008 (please consult author)
Deposited On: 27 Oct 2008 00:00
Last Modified: 12 Feb 2014 23:16

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