IJAM Volume 20 Number 2 (PRINT)

ISSN/ISBN : 1480-8986
Pages : 88

Product: Journal

$84.00 CA


Special Issue: Cultural Entrepreneurship and the New Arts Management

Elmar D. Konrad, Petra Moog, Ruth Rentschler

Cultural entrepreneurship and the new arts management are two related and often overlapping research fields. Due to this close relationship as well as the particular kinds of interdisciplinary research approach, it makes sense to combine the two areas into one special issue of the International Journal of Arts Management. Further, the two research fields can learn from each other and thus might be able to integrate the contributions that have been made. Therefore, in this issue we offer recent scientific contributions that represent contemporary trends in cultural entrepreneurship as well as new arts management research.

Cultural entrepreneurship entails identifying and exploiting entrepreneurial opportunities as well as creating value for artists and individuals starting a business in the field, for society, and for customers or users of the artistic goods and services that are produced. To generate and support innovative start-ups as well as to support traditional and established arts organizations undertaking new initiatives, one must work in or with both types of organization managing arts and culture. Moreover, it may be necessary to act managerially to overcome established structures in an arts organization, whether new or old, or in a small or medium-sized enterprise. This calls for integration of entrepreneurial and managerial thinking in the context of arts and culture. Hence, this special issue of IJAM explores the combination of cultural entrepreneurship and the new arts management in several important organizational domains. Institutional support, management in teams of arts entities and learning in organizations are but a few of the topics examined.

Against this background, the research reported in this issue of the Journal examines both managerial and entrepreneurial approaches, in praxis and in theory. The contributions also integrate, extend, and test theory and research from the entrepreneurship and management fields, applying them in turn to the field of arts and cultural management using an entrepreneurial approach. Therefore, the articles provide a foundation for future research on cultural entrepreneurship and arts management, especially considering the manner in which they are combined.

The six papers included in this issue were accepted after being double-blind reviewed for the 2016 EURAM conference held in Paris. During the conference and our track, Cultural Entrepreneurship and the New Arts Management, scientific discussions and the exchange of ideas among researchers took place. The reviewers used three criteria in selecting papers for publication: (1) Is the paper publishable using IJAM criteria for theory and praxis? (2) Does the paper meet the additional criterion of contributing to the topic of the special issue with respect to cultural entrepreneurship or arts management? (3) Can the paper reach its potential in time to fit the publication schedule? Those papers fulfilling all three criteria were selected, underwent an additional review process to ensure that they were of high quality, and are published in this issue of the Journal.

In general, this special issue provides selected, state-of-the-art research in both fields, with an interlinking of arts entrepreneurship and arts management in some articles (the two incubator contributions). All six articles deal – implicitly or explicitly – with issues of entrepreneurship and management from different theoretical points of view. Thus, there is an interesting mix of articles with a focus on (a) cultural entrepreneurship in start-ups in the creative industries (articles 1 and 2 and to a degree also 3); (b) the new arts management (3, 4 and 5); and of course (c), a case study (6). Besides diversity of context and art form, we sought to provide new insights in the field by means of different research approaches. Thus, this issue offers qualitative studies with expert interviews and the comparison of selected cases on the one hand and quantitative studies on the other. Last but not least, we offer a rich case study with a long-term perspective, providing insights into the arts management process in a city/region that fosters cultural entrepreneurial activities.

Boram Lee, Ian Fraser and Ian Fillis, in their article, “Creative Futures for New Contemporary Artists: Opportunities and Barriers,” discuss career choices for current art college graduates in Scotland. These career choices are challenging, especially as young artists tend to be self-employed. The authors investigate the opportunities and threats (nuts and bolts) facing young artists transforming themselves into art entrepreneurs after finishing university. They use a qualitative data set of 20 semi-structured interviews with students selected for a major contemporary art exhibition called New Contemporaries at the Royal Scottish Academy and given the rare opportunity to take part in a prestigious follow-up exhibition. In this way they provide new insights into artists’ chances of exhibiting through this “platform,” where the artist is special. They examine what artists think about occupational choice in general and exhibiting in particular. They find, not surprisingly, that most students, regardless of whether or not they are selected to participate as an exhibitor, find themselves in challenging financial circumstances. Exhibitions are valued by all students as a springboard to an artistic career, because young artists benefit from recognition, reputation, marketing and networks, even though they do not receive financial rewards – except, in rare cases, from sales or award premiums. Being selected to show their work in an exhibition also increases students’ motivation and ambition and makes them evaluate their art work realistically. All interviewees reveal little awareness of market conditions. Furthermore, most appear to be pessimistic about the possibility of obtaining financial support. Nevertheless, curiously, many express no interest in developing commercial skills and some have an anti-entrepreneurial mindset. These insights should nudge educational institutions as well as politicians into offering young artists more opportunities to obtain tangible as well as emotional support. Art colleges should consider including subjects such as marketing, business studies, entrepreneurship and basic financial management in their curricula, in order to prepare students for life after graduation – either working as self-employed artists or keeping their day jobs and working as artists after hours. This investigation takes a step towards developing a coherent theoretical conceptualization of the phenomenon of cultural entrepreneurship and the new arts management.

The article by Ellen Loots, Boukje Cnossen and Arjen van Witteloostuijn, “Compete or Cooperate in the Creative Industries? A Quasi-experimental Study With Dutch Cultural and Creative Entrepreneurs,” examines the effects of cultural and creative entrepreneurs’ self-perceived creative and entrepreneurial competencies on collaboration. The authors build on the rich behavioural literature by investigating the nature of the collaboration or competition using a comprehensive data set of 45 Dutch cultural and creative entrepreneurs participating in a Prisoner’s Dilemma experiment as well as completing a tailor-made survey. This article extends the literature on the role of competencies versus collaborative skills in creative individuals, as it identifies the two spheres of influence. The results show that perception of creative competencies positively relates to cooperation while perception of creative skills relative to other people’s creativity negatively affects cooperative behaviour. Therefore, creative individuals with high self-esteem due to creative competencies feel safe collaborating and working in teams, whereas the perception of high skill level plays a greater role in a feeling of overconfidence or even superiority, triggering non-cooperation and competitiveness. These findings demonstrate the important role of skills, competencies, and behaviour in the cultural and creative industries. They imply that while entrepreneurs in these industries should always seek to excel artistically (i.e., to create cultural value), if they feel confident about their technical or business competencies they might be more openminded about working in teams in order to generate more successful arts businesses.

Three articles are contributions on the edge of the new arts management, focusing on the subject from different angles. Linda Essig’s “Value Creation by and Evaluation of US Arts Incubators” defines arts incubators as part of the new arts management. However, it illustrates that these are an element of the cultural entrepreneurship infrastructure in an organizational form, being at the intersection of artistic production, entrepreneurship and public policy. The author explains that designing an arts incubator requires a profound understanding of the underlying processes of arts and culture, especially of how artists can be supported on their way to becoming entrepreneurs and managers of creative businesses. Through a qualitative cross-case analysis of four arts incubators, the research opens up the black box of incubator operations, showing how individual success can be enhanced through the implementation of arts incubator infrastructure. At the intersection of cultural entrepreneurship and successfully managing an arts incubator, strong leadership is an important asset, even though these organizations do not appear to benefit from one particular leadership style. What is important in furthering an organization’s trajectory is its leader’s ability to think strategically, communicate effectively with both staff and external constituencies, and synthesize feedback in the planning or change process. Thus, successful arts incubators create value for their client artists and arts organizations both directly, through the lowering of barriers to market entry and market sustainability by granting or re-granting financial resources, space, and services or through the reduction of the transaction costs of doing business, and indirectly, through echoing effects that provide the seal of approval for creative and cultural quality.

The contribution titled “De visitus non est disputandum: How Visitors to Public Museums Cluster Towards Deaccessioning,” by Marilena Vecco and Andrej Srakar, argues very strongly for managing the arts, especially museums, and dealing with deaccessioning. Deaccessioning, a relatively new paradigm, opens up possibilities for how to manage museums and how to deal with cultural artifacts over time. However, not much is known about deaccessioning strategies or how museum visitors feel about them. Thus, the authors take a management-oriented research approach, using a questionnaire for museum visitors that serves as a catalogue of deaccessioning scenarios. This study sheds light on how visitors to cultural institutions view deaccessioning and how they perceive museums’ strategies to sell or lease artifacts. Its quantitative approach generates factors and clusters, testing them through factor analysis. Based on 310 questionnaires (structured in 22 attitudinal questions using a five-point Likert scale), the authors present the profiles of Italian visitors to public museums according to deaccessioning attitude. They identify two clusters, labelled “stringent” and “permissive,” in terms of attitude towards deaccessioning, differentiated by the question of why deaccessioning takes place (i.e., an infrastructure- driven approach using the sales from deaccessioning). They detect no statistically significant sociodemographic relationships between the two clusters, although the “stringent” cluster tends to contain slightly more males, those with less education, older people and those with fewer children. The same process is used in testing for differences in number of museum visits.

In “Board Composition and Organizational Performance in the Cultural Sector: The Case of Italian Opera Houses,” Paola Dubini and Alberto Monti examine boards of directors in Italian opera houses. This contribution is quasi-natural experimental due to the fact that over the last two decades Italian opera houses have been transformed from public institutions to private foundations because of financial pressures, such as decreasing public funding. Thus, this study investigates sustainability of Italian opera houses by focusing on the relationship between board composition and organizational performance. The authors conclude that a well-functioning board is instrumental in engaging stakeholders and donors, not only as a way to attract funding for the opera house but also as a mutual reputation-building exercise, preventing and absorbing financial crises and acting as a mediator between stakeholders and the theatre, thereby orienting the organization’s growth trajectory. In this respect, boards are becoming more entrepreneurial, pursuing social goals and trying new approaches to marketing and fundraising. To test their research assumption, the authors obtained data from board member profiles (i.e., the profiles of artists, controllers, cultural managers, influential people, other specialists) over time. In order to test the impact of the different profiles on the revenue structure of opera houses, they performed a panel data analysis with fixed-effects and bootstrap resampling of 5,000 cases and robust clustered errors around theatres. The findings suggest that boards and their composition do matter – controllers and influential people affect opera houses’ global performance and earned income. Board members with artistic backgrounds are negatively correlated to private funding. Artistic quality tends to be prioritized, even at the expense of popularity: artistic values versus mass entertainment. This article offers novel insights into boards and their governance, providing interesting foundations for future research.

Finally, “Grouping or Grounding: Cultural Districts and Creative Cluster Management in Nantes, France,” by Nathalie Schieb-Bienfait, Anne-Laure Saives, Brigitte Charles-Pauvers, Sandrine Emin and Hélène Morteau, combines aspects of both cultural entrepreneurship and arts management. The authors use a rich qualitative case study as the basis for examining a cultural and creative cluster (CCC) in arts management, defined as a collective system of small and very small companies led by cultural entrepreneurs. This contribution draws on a longitudinal case study of the trajectory of Quartier de la Création in Nantes, France, over almost nine years. To understand the impact of a dynamic CCC on start-ups and small businesses in the arts, the authors develop an interdisciplinary approach interlinking complementary empirical methods such as case studies, monographs, network analyses and mapping, while using primary and secondary qualitative and quantitative data along with different sources (archives, surveys, interviews, press clippings, databases). Hence, they were able to discern the linkages within CCC management as well as regional planning activities and other influencing factors. The authors show how the management mechanisms in CCCs encourage member or user grounding and/or grouping dynamics in the cluster, and how small arts businesses interact with each other. The case study confirms the prevailing view of CCCs as dynamic organizations. It reveals distinct stages, each with specific governance and managerial issues. It also reveals challenges in shaping the role of the support organization and identifying competencies to be developed, depending on how the cluster wishes to or should develop. The authors demonstrate that in order to ground its work, the management of a cluster has to be uniquely organized and to generate grouping effects, taking into account the needs of artists and small arts businesses. Thus, the article shows that learning over time and acting/reacting dynamically in these cluster organizations is crucial to earning a living and is fruitful for political change and support.

In sum, we have compiled a special issue that integrates cultural entrepreneurship and arts management, identifying the potential to enrich research in and around the praxis (fostering cultural entrepreneurship, enhancing the quality of arts management, delivering synergy effects when combining both points of view). Thus, this issue of IJAM provides novel insights and useful results for academics and practitioners. Although diverse, the research questions covered by the articles address only a small portion of topics in need of investigation in an emerging and exciting field of research.

We want to thank the many individuals who contributed to the EURAM conference and our track and to this issue of the Journal, as well as the authors who submitted manuscripts and the reviewers who appraised them. The theoretical and empirical work reported in these pages, and the research questions put forward, might serve as a catalyst for further integrative research that will increase our understanding of cultural entrepreneurship and arts management as a path to diversity in cultural wealth and utility creation for individuals, organizations and society.