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7AAIAM01 Arts & Management

Module convenor: Professor Nick Wilson
Credits: 20
Teaching pattern: Ten one-hour lectures and ten one-hour seminars, and one three-hour workshop

Module description:

Interest in the relationship between arts & management has grown rapidly in recent years. To some extent this is down to the increased recognition of the economic importance of arts and cultural organisations, as well as the high profile successes some institutions and their managers/leaders, who have overturned otherwise stubbornly enduring stereotypes about the capacity of artists to manage (anything at all). 

Over and above this, interest in the contested relationship between arts & management can also be seen to reflect changing attitudes about the capacity of the arts and artistic and cultural practices to help us think differently about the problems we face (ranging from micro-level approaches to innovation, product design and (social) creativity in and across small and medium-sized businesses, to macro-level world events such as the global financial crisis, third-world poverty, and global warming). 

This introductory module explores the tactical, logistical and strategic challenges involved in managing arts and cultural organisations in today’s rapidly changing global world; but it also responds to the bigger question of how supporting arts practices, delivering  and providing cultural leadership could, in fact, benefit society as a whole?

Draft teaching syllabus

  1. Introduction: Arts & Management
  2. Managing Organizations in the Arts
  3. Principles of Entrepreneurial Management
  4. Arts Marketing
  5. Managing Finance [and Small Business Management workshop]
  6. Arts Funding in Practice
  7. Cultural Policy
  8. Managing Creativity and Creatives
  9. Creative, Cultural and Charismatic Leadership
  10. Strategic Management of the Arts

Module aims

This module aims to:

  • explore the contested relationship between the arts and management from a critical perspective;
  • encourage an informed re-evaluation of the work and motivations of artists, managers and cultural entrepreneurs;
  • provide a detailed review and assessment of the perceived management challenges facing arts & cultural managers across the world;
  • investigate the key themes and impulses informing current debate in the management of art and cultural organisations.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, the students will be able to demonstrate intellectual, transferable and practicable skills appropriate to a Level 7 module and in particular will be able to:

  • critically evaluate the (dialectical) relationship between arts and management, being able to account for why these are often regarded as separate fields of practice;
  • competently assess the extent to which the processes of art, management and entrepreneurship share common features with regard to their means, ends, and means-ends relationships;
  • undertake analysis of the arts management literature, so as to discern and prioritise the challenges facing arts managers in terms of functional management discipline (marketing, operations, finance, strategy), and art-form (e.g. visual, performing, built heritage), across the world;
  • question whether ‘exceptionalist’ arguments of the arts and cultural sector are justified, based on an assessment of appropriate research evidence, including creativity, cultural policy, and leadership

Core reading

  • Abbing, H. (2007) Why are Artists Poor? The exceptional economy of the arts, Amsterdam University Press: Amsterdam.
  • Bilton, C. (2007) Management and Creativity: From creative industries to creative management, Blackwell publishing: Oxford. 
  • Brindle, M. and DeVereaux, C. (2011) The Arts Management Handbook, M.E. Sharpe: London.
  • Byrnes, W.J. (2014) Management and the Arts, 5th edition, Elsevier: Oxford.
  • Chong, D. (2002) Arts Management: Critical perspectives on a new sub-discipline, Routledge: London.
  • Stokes, D. and Wilson, N. (2017) Small Business Management & Entrepreneurship, CENGAGE: Abingdon.
  • Townley, B. and Beech, N. (2009) Managing Creativity: Exploring the Paradox, Cambridge University Press.
  • Walmsley, B. (2011) Key Issues in the Arts and Entertainment Industry, Goodfellow: Oxford.


Assessment 1: 1,000 word essay (25%)

Assessment 2: 3,000 word essay (75%)

Students are reassessed in the failed elements of assessment and by the same methods as the first attempt.

 The modules run in each academic year are subject to change in line with staff availability and student demand so there is no guarantee every module will run. Module descriptions and information may vary depending between years.

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