Happening right at the tail end of Barry Hessenius’s blogathon on arts entrepreneurship, the annual conference of the Association of Arts Administration Educators in Montreal further evidenced that arts entrepreneurship is maturing as an academic discipline. I was honored to be asked to join colleagues on two different panels, one on arts venture incubation and the other on arts entrepreneurship program building. What came out of these presentations, for me, was a further refinement of the distinctions between “creative enterprise” and “arts entrepreneurship,” the former being new venture creation in the creative sector and the latter entrepreneurial action not just in but for the arts (or art). A surprising number of attendees teach arts and/or creative entrepreneurship in programs from theatre, to music industry studies, to arts administration. Many of the same people are also attending a meeting next week at SMU on the topic of arts entrepreneurship; perhaps future meetings can be concurrent or in tandem to minimize duplication (and travel costs for faculty with scarce institutional resources).
Another theme of the conference was internationalization of arts administration and cultural management practices. There were several plenary presentation on this theme, as well as panel sessions about building international cultural management programming. Personally, this is an area about which I have much to learn and look forward to that journey.
Finally, there were several interesting research-oriented panels. One that I attended presented research-in-progress; scholars received feedback on methodologies and approaches from colleagues in a civil and supportive environment. Another focused on interdisciplinary research methods for various types of research: theory building, clinical, and network analysis. Arts administration/arts management is a discipline that, not unlike theatre where I came of age professionally and intellectually, combines scholarship and practice. The two not only co-exist side by side but support one another – or should. Research builds knowledge that we put into practice in the field, and the field provides subjects of study that further builds both knowledge and theory. It’s a symbiotic relationship that should be nurtured in our professional societies.
(Photo of and by HEC Montreal)