Who chooses cultural management as a career, and why?

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Today’s Arts Management Network newsletter carries a very interesting review of the French sociologist Vincent Dubois’ new book Culture as a Vocation: Sociology of career choices in cultural management.

Based on interviews with 654 students in MA courses in cultural management in France, it yields some intriguing insights on the demographics and aspirations of those seeking to become cultural managers (emphases mine):

Dubois examines, on the basis of his survey, the social factors and characteristics of the aspirants for an occupation in cultural management. In doing so he finds that these persons are mainly female, in the majority have a comparatively secure social background, often originate from families of academics and are equipped with a high educational capital. On top of that they frequently come out of an environment in which they early had the opportunity to socialize in a cultural way, as for example by getting private teaching lessons in music instruments or by being member of a theatre group.

This resonates strongly with my experience working in UCD’s Arts Management & Cultural Policy MA for 13 years. Given that arts management is often an economically precarious and competitive career, Dubois’ research into individual motivations for pursuing this path is intriguing:

Finally, Dubois points out further reasons for a career aspiration in cultural management – resulting from a broader social context. Thus, many of his study participants understand cultural work as an expression of self-fulfillment, freedom and satisfaction, because it gives them the feeling of doing something for the public welfare and acting for a higher purpose in life. Thereby, at the same time, they distance themselves from pure economically orientated occupational fields. A career in cultural management by that becomes a personal self-realization project, all in the sense of the central concepts of neo-capitalism.

Whether or not you agree such aspirations are an expression of neo-capitalist ideologies (and I would be more doubtful of aspects of this analysis), the descriptions Dubois offers are very compelling. To date, most research on the arts labour market deals with artists’ careers, incomes and training. Given the expansion and development of arts management as a specific career path (something I am directly involved with), this type of research is very valuable in thinking through the challenges of arts management training, and consequences for the sector as a whole. The overwhelming dominance of entry-mid level arts management positions by women, for example, is often remarked upon, but we understand little about the effect this actually has on careers, progression, and the functioning of arts organisations themselves.

One of the insights I found most interesting is Dubois’ description of the relationship between the social backgrounds of arts management and audience development agendas:

Dubois’ findings make it clear that the diversification of the audience required by cultural institutions can hardly be successful if the majority of their staff originates from academic families with a (high) cultural education. They simply cannot put themselves in the position of the living conditions of socially disadvantaged people or groups of society belonging to minorities and therefore in their work they reflect – as it is also criticised again and again – especially their own expectations of culture and cultural mediation.

This is a problem further exacerbated by the prevalence of unpaid internships in the arts, which creates a significant barrier to a diverse work force — a paradox not fully acknowledged by arts organisations that may run outreach programmes, but be structurally closed off for professional entry by individuals from similarly challenged backgrounds.

There are so many questions raised by this study — I look forward to reading the full text at length — and discussing whether they apply (or not) to the Irish experience.

 

Arts Management & Marketing (Free) Online Course – Goethe Institut

Thought this might be of interest to some of my readers… the Goethe Institut is launching a new (free) online course in arts marketing (a MOOC, as they’re otherwise known). The course offers a very interesting range of taught sessions on a variety of marketing-focused topics, including:

  • The cultural economy: Markets and marketing for cultural organizations
  • Reaching across the fourth wall: Building audience relationships
  • Emerging Identities: Co-creating and shaping digital brands

The speakers are well qualified academics and arts professionals, primarily from the UK, Netherlands and Germany. Definitely worth checking out if you’re looking to upskill in arts marketing! The deadline for enrollment is 18 February.

1 week to go! Arts management & policy conference, 25 June (UCD)

We’re getting very excited about hosting next week’s conference ‘Mapping an Altered Landscape: cultural policy and management in Ireland‘ next Wednesday (25 June 2014) in UCD’s beautiful new student centre. Co-sponsored by IADT, the conference is supported by the Arts Council and Heritage Council. The one-day conference features a great line-up of speakers reflecting in an open format on current cultural policies and management practices.

Our main aim of the day is to propose solutions to a problem that perplexes us all: what might a coherent cultural policy look like?

The last cultural policy conference held at UCD was held in 2008 — right before the economic crash — and there’s no better time than the present to take a hard look at what’s changed in the interim, and talk openly about the way forward.

Our capacity is limited, with 100+ confirmed attendees from across the artforms and cultural sector (artists, arts managers, curators, theatre-makers, museum/heritage folks, local authority officers, representatives from the Department, Arts and Heritage Councils, government ministers, students and academics), so please register soon if you’d like to join us on the day! Speaker presentations will be diverse and brief to allow for maximum audience participation.

There will also be the opportunity to tour UCD’s new cultural facilities — still unknown to lots of folks, and open for programming and collaborations — including our state-of-the art cinema, black box theatre, dance studio and radio station. An optional screening of the documentary ‘Skin in the Game‘ (on Irish artists & the recession) will be held that evening after the conclusion of the conference in the new cinema.

I hope very much that many of you will be able to join us!

‘Mapping’ 2014 Conference schedule

www.culturalpolicyconference2014.ie

 

Full schedule: UCD/IADT Cultural Management & Policy conference (25 June)

Delighted to share final details of the programme for our upcoming arts management & policy conference, ‘Mapping an Altered Landscape’ on 25 June here at UCD, in collaboration with IADT. We’ve a great line-up of speakers (plenaries are listed below), and the conference offers the opportunity to see UCD’s new student centre and its wonderful arts facilities as well!

Download full conference programme as pdf

For full details and to register: www.culturalpolicyconference2014.ie

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Plenary Session 1: Mapping an altered landscape: accounting for changes in Irish cultural policies and practices through the years of recession

In the first of our 4 plenary sessions, panellists will identify key changes that have taken place in policies, structures and management practices across the cultural field since 2008. Which changes have been for the good; which for the bad; and what’s been working well?

RUAIRI QUINN TD, MINISTER FOR EDUCATION AND SKILLS
GERRY GODLEY, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR, IMPROVISED MUSIC COMPANY
AIDAN PENDER, DIRECTOR, STRATEGIC DEVELOPMENT & SECRETARIAT, FÁILTE IRELAND

CLAIRE DUIGNAN, INDEPENDENT DIRECTOR AND BUSINESS ADVISOR

MODERATOR: MARY WILSON, RTÉ

 

Plenary Session 2: Structural issues: identifying challenges and difficulties Plenary 2 will examine the fitness for purpose of current cultural structures and their responsiveness to change: asking is the full range of cultural expression and production adequately captured by current policies and institutional structures?

SARAH GLENNIE, DIRECTOR, IRISH MUSEUM OF MODERN ART, DEPUTY CHAIR, COUNCIL OF NATIONAL CULTURAL INSTITUTIONS
PETER HYNES, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, MAYO COUNTY COUNCIL
CHRISTINE SISK, ACTING DIRECTOR, CULTURE IRELAND, DEPT
OF ARTS HERITAGE AND THE GAELTACHT
ALAN COUNIHAN, ARTIST
MICHELLE CAREW, DIRECTOR AT NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR YOUTH DRAMA

MODERATOR: DR. EMILY MARK-­‐FITZGERALD, UCD

 

Plenary Session 3: Process issues: identifying and embracing change

The goal of this conversation is to identify the ways in which culture is produced and consumed under the processes of rapid economic and technological change. New forms of cultural practice and mediation have emerged that have implications for the way public policies and institutions understand and engage with change.

TREVOR WHITE, DIRECTOR, THE LITTLE MUSEUM OF DUBLIN
MARY CARTY, ENTREPRENEUR,
ARTS CONSULTANT, AUTHOR
GAVIN DUNNE, MUSIC PRODUCER AND SONGWRITER, THE MAN BEHIND MIRACLE OF SOUND
GRACE DYAS, FOUNDER OF THEATRECLUB, AN ACTIVIST, THEATRE DIRECTOR, WRITER, PRODUCER
MONIKA SAPIELAK, DIRECTOR AT CENTRE FOR CREATIVE PRACTICES; DIRECTOR OF ARTPOLONIA, LAB FOR INTERCULTURAL COOPERATION &EXCHANGE

MODERATOR: ANDREW HETHERINGTON, BUSINESS TO ARTS

 

 Plenary Session 4: What should be done? Reflecting on the issues prompted by the preceding plenaries, session 4 panel members will endeavour to lead a way forward by identifying what needs to change in policy, practice, structures and thinking

MARY MCCARTHY, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL SCULPTURE FACTORY
SHEILA PRATSCHKE, CHAIR, ARTS COUNCIL
CONOR NEWMAN, CHAIR, HERITAGE COUNCIL
WILLIE WHITE,
ARTISTIC DIRECTOR AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE, DUBLIN THEATRE FESTIVAL

MODERATOR: SEAN ROCKS, RTÉ

Launch of Irish Journal of Arts Management and Cultural Policy

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JOURNAL LAUNCH

The School of Art History and Cultural Policy at University College Dublin is delighted to announce the launch of the Irish Journal of Arts Management and Cultural Policy (www.culturalpolicy.ie), a new peer reviewed, open access e-journal publishing original research on the arts and cultural sector in Ireland.

It aims to provide an accessible and engaging discussion of recent arts management and cultural policy research for academics and practitioners, encourage new research directions in the sector and offer a platform for aspiring researchers and writers. Contents of the first issue include:

Editorial Board Introduction

Ciarán Benson Foreword

Michelle Carew Towards Creative Europe: Irish Performing Arts Organisations and the EU Culture Programme

Timothy King Tapping the Culturati: An Underexploited Source of Private Finance for the Arts in Ireland

Eve Lalor Safeguarding Giving: the Volunteer and the Intern

Thomas McGraw Lewis Challenging the Literacy of ‘Literacy and Numeracy’: The Potential for Film and Moving Image Media in the Irish Educational Landscape

Emma Mahony Where Do They Stand? Deviant Art Institutions and the Liberal Democratic State

CALL FOR PAPERS – ISSUE 2

Accompanying the launch of Issue 1, the Editorial Board is now currently seeking outstanding research articles by academics and practitioners for Issue 2 of the Journal. Submissions should address topics concerning Ireland or Northern Ireland, may focus on any of the following areas:

  • cultural policy
  • arts and cultural management
  • cultural tourism
  • creative industries
  • cultural economics and marketing
  • heritage and museum studies
  • governance and administration
  • audience development and participation
  • philanthropy/fundraising
  • cultural finance
  • production / consumption
  • arts and education

The Journal is published annually and edited by an Editorial Board comprised of Irish academics. All research-based submissions are blind peer-reviewed by an international panel of academics and practitioners. If you are interested in submitting to the journal, please email a brief abstract and article title to info@culturalpolicy.ie by 1 November 2013. We also welcome proposals for book reviews and editorial essays. Final submissions (4,000-5,000 words) will be due 6 December 2013. Full submission guidelines and further details may be found at www.culturalpolicy.ie.

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Editorial Board:

Pat Cooke, University College Dublin
Victoria Durrer, South Dublin County Council
Emily Mark-FitzGerald, University College Dublin
Kerry McCall, Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Dún Laoghaire

International Advisory Board:

Eleanora Belfiore, University of Warwick
Oliver Bennett, University of Warwick
Constance Devereaux, Colorado State University
Luke Gibbons, NUI Maynooth
Chris Maughan, De Montfort University
Andrew Newman, Newcastle University
Dave O’Brien, City University, London
John O’Hagan, Trinity College Dublin
Carmel O’Sullivan, Trinity College Dublin
Bernadette Quinn, Dublin Institute of Technology
Marie Redmond, Trinity College Dublin
Elizabeth Silva, The Open University
David Throsby, Macquarie University
Jonathan Vickery, University of Warwick
Chris Whitehead, Newcastle University