Kira Campo asked a couple of good questions in response to my previous post.
Very intriguing post. You mention that “It is unfortunate that the world of the arts is not as prepared as it could be for this unique opportunity to recalibrate the one-sided relationship of the artist as dependent upon patrons.” I’m curious what you envision such preparation might entail? Are there organizations you feel have already done a good job of pioneering “viable products” around arts based learning?
Greatest thanks, in advance, for any further thoughts.
Preparation starts with the way “the arts” are taught, especially at the undergraduate level when young people begin to recognize that developing their artistic expression is a priority for them.
As a musician, the few really powerful teachers I’ve had always focused my attention on the critical balance between technique and feeling. As artists, we develop a keen sense of this balance. In arts that involve social interaction like music, theater and dance, this capacity to balance the manipulation of technique with empathic intention translates into critical skills that are needed by those whose work is to manage creativity and change in organizations.
As artists we learn to blend the intangible aspects of social dynamics like trust, listening, appreciation of diversity, curiosity and passion with manipulation of the tangible aspects of our media- musical instruments, physical bodies , language, paint, film. . . etc.
The capacity to integrate these two very different and often opposing forces is a skill that artists must learn because it’s what makes art “art.” At the same time people learn to balance these forces is precisely when we have the opportunity to teach them to speak across the boundaries that separate arts and business.
I envision interdepartmental seminars between students in the arts and those in business oriented classes like economics, organizational psychology, management, etc. where theses grey areas that relate to the blending of tangible technique (or technology) with intangible aspects of theory and interpersonal dynamics could be explored and articulated.
The benefits would be two-fold. First, it would spark an interest in both camps to explore the “intersection” and it would help to define the parallel skills and talents that might exist there. We might expect to ignite some interesting conversations about relationship between aesthetics and economics or art history and engineering or music and psychology or dance and biology- the possibilities are endless.
Second and perhaps most important, a colloquium like this would engage students from contrasting disciplines in dialogue where a new way to talk about the parallel concerns and behaviors could be developed. The dialogue is the product in arts-based learning for business because it’s during the “debrief” after the arts based intervention has occurred that insights are surfaced and integrated. Students on both sides of the table have to be skilled in facilitating this special kind of dialogue that would harvest and integrate insights. These are skills we can teach.
The question of “viable products” is more difficult to answer. At this point in the emergence of this new field we have to look to applications in both academia and the workplace to find durable examples.
Institutions like Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management and The Bled School of Management in Slovenia are leaders in development of arts-based learning programs primarily in the field of leadership development.
Two of the best places I’ve worked are Proctor and Gamble’s Clay Street Center in Cincinnati https://theclaystreetproject.pg.com/claystreet/default.aspx and The Banff Centre for Leadership Development in Alberta, Canada http://www.banffcentre.ca/, both of which provide rich environments for arts-based learning.
One of the most powerful experiences I’ve had working with ABI’s was as a participant in The Creative Dynamic Workshop at The TAI Group http://www.thetaigroup.com/in New York City.
Many of the arts based learning experiences I’ve conducted have taken place in off-site locations. From a logistical point of view such settings are convenient and comfortable but can be problematic because they set a context that separates people from the conditions they want and need to change. Those I’ve conducted in home-based contexts seem to be the most relevant environment for ABI’s to take place. It juxtaposes the immediacy of the experience and insight with the physicality of the structural barriers and ingrained protocols that management sought to change in the first place.
Thanks for furthering the conversation Kira