Trigger Warning: Capitalism

Trigger_lock_on_a_revolver_-_close_up_of_warningBefore Creative Infrastructure‘s hiatus (i.e. before I went on a vacation road trip through the Pacific Northwest), there was a lot of social media discussion about “trigger warnings.”  Trigger warnings are notices placed on syllabi – sometimes at the request of students and sometimes at the request of administrators – about course content that might trigger an unwanted and disruptive emotional reaction in students.  Some of the best critiques of the practice are by sociologist (and my cousin) Laurie Essig, another by Jack Halberstam, and this by Arlene Goldbard. While reading through these critiques, I coincidentally happened to be developing the syllabus for my grad seminar on arts entrepreneurship, which will be using the lean launchpad process for business model generation. As I worked on adapting lean launchpad for use in a potentially nonprofit or low-profit arts context, I decided – somewhat tongue-in-cheek – that it needed a trigger warning: Capitalism.  I posted the trigger warning on facebook before my trip. My facebook friends enjoyed it so much I decided to share it more broadly here:

Warning: capitalism. Many of us have “grown up” in a nonprofit arts environment and may have a complex relationship with the notion of capitalism, especially as capital appears to accumulate or concentrate in smaller and smaller segments of the arts and the economy as a whole. Historical and neoclassical views of entrepreneurship focus on entrepreneurship as the means by which capital is invested, grown, and harvested. This may not be of interest to you. By shifting the means/end relationship from “product-for-profit” to “revenue-for-art” we can reconcile our need to make art with our need to make money.

That’s the end of the warning, but not the end of the syllabus. Students will be blogging about their experience applying the lean launchpad to an arts venture. Once we’ve set up the blog, you will be able to follow along too.

(Image: trigger lock by flickr user “Rick,” Creative Commons license)

About lindaessig

Linda Essig is Dean of the College of Arts & Letters at Cal State LA and principal/owner of Creative Infrastructure LLC. The opinions expressed on creativeinfrastructure are her own and not those of Cal State LA. You can follow her on twitter @LindaInPhoenix.
This entry was posted in Arts education, Arts entrepreneurship, Arts funding, Higher education and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Trigger Warning: Capitalism

  1. Thanks for the shout-out, Linda. I’d love to see how you’re adapting the lean launchpad process. Is that available for sharing?

    • lindaessig says:

      Arlene – We’ll be creating a course blog, which will include the full syllabus explaining some of the “translations” we’ll be using and then progress along the way.

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