From Diva to Democracy: An Assessment of Arts Organizational Governance Structures
University of Connecticut, United States of America
This paper is a conceptual analysis of the tensions between intent, ideal, and application in arts organization management practice emphasizing the role of ideological norms as factors influencing leadership and governance strategy. The focus is on nonprofit arts organizations in the United States. Recognizing that trends in management and policy have changed significantly through the 20th century, to today, I look at changes in the landscape of arts management in which the realities imposed by the art world, by funding dynamics, political vicissitudes, moves toward increased professionalization in trained staff, and public perceptions about the arts—create conflicts that “complicate leadership and decision making.” (Cray, Inglis, and Freeman 2007, 295). In fact, knowledge about leadership and management as they apply in the arts management sector remain underdeveloped in the literature (Evrard and Colbert 2000). Trends indicate, however an increased tendency toward collaboration and participation, fewer boundaries between leader and led, and more access and inclusivity for both internal and external actors. In other words, developments are toward more democratic and away from autocratic management structures. This paper asks, therefore, whether democratic principles and structures—a democratic setting, in other words—can improve leadership and management for arts organizations. If yes, what leadership models and management strategies can best support democratic aims. I argue that arts organizations, by their nature, are best suited for democratic leadership and governance.
Assuming that the ideals of democracy “define a necessary frame of reference for analyzing work organizations in a democratic society (Vredenburghand Brender 1993, 99) I consider the prospects for engagement, perceptions of organizational purpose, and increased participation. Case study analysis of an arts center in the Western United States is considered.
Leadership Strategies in Amateur Arts. The Example of Latvian Nationwide Song and Dance Celebration Tradition.
Latvian Academy of Culture, Latvia
More than 40 000 people from the 1,9 million inhabitants of Latvia participate in the Nationwide Song and Dance Celebration – the widest amateur choral singing and dancing tradition of Baltic states. The tradition is sustained due to continuous amateur art process and is aimed to be with high participation and high artistic quality. Amateur groups are led by professional artists thus they become key-actors in the preservation of tradition and their leadership approach has to balance between the quality expectations and the limits and motivation of amateurs.
A partnership between professional artists and amateur artists ensure quality and enhances the value of the experience for all participants but at the same time, professionals need a certain mindset in order to be able to successfully operate with amateurs (Smith 2006). Relational leadership (Fairhust & Uhl-Bien 2012), collective leadership (Kuenkel 2016), the discourse of the inspirational and connectionist leaders (Chiapello and Fairclough 2002), arts leadership (Hewison, Holden 2011, Caust 2013) has been studied to define those elements that would be the most efficient working with amateur artists.
A survey of group leaders (n=574), participants (n=1091) and 27 semi-structured interviews have been carried out to study various participation aspects of the tradition. The data shows that there is a tension between the wish of the professionals to raise the artistic quality, while most of the amateurs care more about social interaction and positive emotions. To deal with that group leaders use diverse strategies that combine the elements of leadership approaches mentioned above and can be characterized by the following keywords: the commander, the prophet, the partner and the shepherd.
The Construction of the Field of Light Art
University Institute of Lisbon, Portugal
In this work we review the different processes of artification that take place around the industry of light festivals. We review the problems for the constitution of the field of the light arts, as a result of the lack of adhesion on the part of the artistic community that works with light as a medium; and the difficulties to constitute a professional identity. We also analyze the on-going attempts to legitimize this set of cultural practices.
We study the resistance and opposition processes of the artists present in this type of events, and we deepen in the motivations that discourage them to integrate the community of light artists. We also analyze the possible causes that limit the appearance of light art in an institutionalized way, specially outside of a context of pseudo-entertainment event.
We reflect on the conflict of interests between artists and curators and we question ourselves about the continuity of light festivals following their traditional formats.
This work is based on the analysis of 55 in-depth interviews with artists, curators and artistic directors, as well as ethnographic work carried out in the context of light festivals (2017/19).
Art Organisations of a New Era - A Media Analysis of the Changes in State Funding and Leadership of Orchestras, Art Museums and Theaters in Finland.
University of the Arts Helsinki, Finland
The funding of arts organizations and the effects of the changes of the ongoing state subsidy system renewal process in Finland are at the core of this multidisciplinary research that combines sociology, law, cultural policy and leadership to analyze structures of power in the framework of critical theory. The research has progressed into a stage where a vaste media analysis has been conducted together with the juridical process analysis, since 2016. In 2016 PM Sipilä’s center-right wing cabinet started a historical renewal process of the state subsidy system in Finland, the object of which was ”to renew the legislation to meet the demands of the society today” by suggesting choices instead of even distribution of the state funds; quality criteria for arts organizations, and geographical equity. However, in 2018, after the legislation proposal was introduced by the Ministry of Education, the Minister Terho of the Blue Future, - formerly known as the Finns party - put the legislation process to a hault, advancing only a part of the performative arts legislation renewal suggested by a group of specialists as well as the museum legislation. The qualitative research’s data consists of a media survey, statistics and policy reports as well as interviews in the field. Qualitative analysis been conducted to define which factors drive the change in discourse and thus have an effect on the leadership of future arts organizations in Finland through thorough analysis of the leadership of the legislative process of 2018– of the state funding structure for the arts in Finland, VOS, in the light of critical theory and CDA.
Topic areas: Arts organizations, cultural policy, funding
Keywords: Leadership, change, sociology, critical discourse analysis