"And the beat goes on…………."
Arts Entrepreneurship Blogathon - Day 4: If you would like to comment, please go to the site blog.westaf.org and click on the comment icon at the end of the blog.
What is the present status of arts entrepreneurship research, and where do we go from here?
Anthony Radich: Arts entrepreneurship research could benefit the field more by:
Doing a better job of distinguishing between business entrepreneurism and social entrepreneurism.
Arts-entrepreneurship research could tell more stories about successful arts entrepreneurship that is rooted in the arts. Such research could strive to use examples from both the past as well as the present.
There could be a more thoughtful examination of the relationship between cultural policy and arts entrepreneurship. What in fact are cultural policymakers doing to encourage and then reward business entrepreneurism in the arts?
Perhaps the question that intrigues me the most that I see very little being written about is the issue of equity and diversity within arts-business entrepreneurship. As arts entrepreneurship is presented in the field today, I see almost no discussion of the ways in which the movement will express these values, even though such values have been central to the work of many in the nonprofit arts.
Linda Essig: I gave a talk recently on this very topic at UW-Madison. Rather than re-invent the wheel, I adapt those comments here:
Research on arts entrepreneurship and arts AS business and arts AND business happens in several domains. I’ll discuss four of those domains, but it is not an all-inclusive list. First is the realm of economics in which folks like Michael Rushton are theorizing on the price mechanism in the arts and Roland Kushner is tracking the longevity of start-up arts organizations. I would like to see more economics-oriented research in the for-profit arts sector, but that data is harder to come by and funding for primary data collection is scarce.
Community resources and development (or community economic development) is another area of research that looks at arts-based businesses and on the effects of arts-based businesses on community development. We can also understand this domain to be at the intersection of arts entrepreneurship and public policy. Spurred by the NEA “Our Town” program and its partner ArtPlace initiative, there is a lot of interest on the ways in which arts and culture businesses can enhance what is called “community vibrancy.” Rhonda Phillips and my ASU colleague Gordon Shockley work in this area, primarily from a theoretical perspective, and often drawing examples from Europe and the Commonwealth countries where the concept of “creative industries” is more fully developed. Working at the intersection of art, economics, and policy, research on arts enterprise and community development also includes the work of Ann Markusen, consultant Anne Gadwa Nicodemus, and others. My own research on arts venture incubators could perhaps be considered under this umbrella as well.
Related to both the economics and community development domains is the nonprofit studies realm. Stephen Preece researches nonprofit arts venture creation. Mark Hager, another ASU colleague, also works in this area, often on the relationship between nonprofit arts organizations and tourism. Andrew Taylor is following the money – specifically capital – in nonprofit arts organizations.
Finally, there is research about arts entrepreneurship in higher ed, both the content and the pedagogy of arts entrepreneurship. My own work in this area involves developing a framework for teaching students to develop those entrepreneurial habits of mind that support both creative and financial success using three different pedagogies of collaborative projects, mentorship, and experiential learning. As mentioned in an earlier post in this series, a recent article in Artivate from Australia advances the field, extends the “habits of mind concept” to develop teachable means for developing an “arts entrepreneurial mindset” including “Creative, Strategic, Analytical and Reflective Thinking,” “Confidence” (or what I would call self-efficacy), “Collaborative Abilities, “Communication Skills,” and “Understanding of Artistic Context.” I would like to see more research on how to teach to the other end of the arts entrepreneurship spectrum – new venture creation -- and I will be presenting later this year with my Drexel colleague Neville Vakharia on arts venture incubation as a tool for such pedagogy.
For arts entrepreneurship to develop as a field or a discipline, it needs to articulate the unique knowledges, theories, and methodologies that define it as a field. Doing so requires research and knowledge-building of that field – not about its place in universities and teaching institutions – but knowledge building and research of arts entrepreneurship practice that then feeds back into the university classrooms and studios where arts entrepreneurship is taught.
Adam Huttler: I fear I am woefully unqualified to answer this one. I have never claimed to be an academic, and I’m simply not up to speed on whatever research has been published on the topic of arts entrepreneurship. The thoughts I’ve shared in this blogathon have been based on a mix of personal experience and intuition.
Having said that, I’m inclined to be skeptical of research on this topic that purports to be objective or seriously data driven. Entrepreneurship is an art as much as a science, and every entrepreneur’s story is unique. What I do find immensely valuable are case studies. I’ve drawn much inspiration over the course of my career from business narratives, and I’ve learned important lessons by studying everyone from Peggy Guggenheim to Jeff Bezos. More often than not, I actually prefer reading about entrepreneurs from radically different industries than my own, since they allow me to detach from industry minutia and focus on abstract concepts. As such, I would welcome more ethnographies of entrepreneurial ventures both inside and outside the arts.