John Pick, one
of the earliest writers in our field suggested that in most situations,
ideally, a manager creates and manages routines, solves problems,
is a risk taker, an entrepreneur and an idealist. As well, arts
and cultural managers in todays climate, need to anticipate
and deal effectively with change.
These are not
dissimilar from some general management writers analysis of
management as a set of tasks or responsibilities including communicating,
coordinating, planning, initiating and controlling.
involves developing knowledge and skills. If we consider the knowledge
a manager needs to do the job well, the following categories are
of people both oneself and others
of the situation the specific arena of work for; art
form; specific roles such as marketing, education, audience development,
finance, administration, fund-raising
of process the skills, techniques and routines required
to make things happen
knowledge the theories and ideas of, not just a good
management, but of how and why we manage arts and cultural activity.
It is common for practitioners of all kinds to be aware of their
situation, the professional practice in a chosen field and the processes
for getting things done. A great deal of knowledge and information
is exchanged and developed regarding specific areas of work such
as marketing techniques or education, financial management or fund-raising.
Some would say these kinds of knowledge are the most important,
and may label them as a practical knowledge is needed to get the
job done. Theory is not usually a highly regarded concept and is
seen as quite divorced from practice. However every managerial act
or decision is based on some assumptions, generalisations
theories! Theory and practice are quite inseparable. As Michael
Eraut. a writer on management development in other settings has
written "theoretical ideas are those we dont used, or
think we dont use. Once we start to use them we call of common
sense." What we do not have is yet in arts and cultural management
is a well-developed articulated set of theories.
programme it is important to take time to look at the small amount
of theoretical material in print which does exist in the field of
arts and cultural management. It is equally important to consider
the assumptions on which each report, article or book is based.
What does it the say about how arts and cultural activity is to
be managed? Is there an assumption about what is legitimate to include
in the field? Are there assumptions about the size and structure
of the enterprise or organisation? Etc. The same critical approach
can be applied to those who report on or write about the more practical
aspects of arts and cultural activity and management practice.
of management has not been embraced by many within the arts and
cultural community. Some would say the arts and culture are not
unique in this resistance, and writers such as Handy and Paton write
convincingly of similar attitudes in the voluntary sector. Some
see the discussion of management as the necessary imposition of
ideas and concepts from the business sector. And indeed much of
the terminology we now deal with was first developed outside the
arts and culture such as marketing, strategic planning, human
resources performance indicators, outputs and impacts. It is a primary
task of thoughtful arts and cultural managers and workers to use
the concepts and ideas developed elsewhere in a manner which suits
their own situation.
people, of ourselves and others has not in being traditionally a
high priority of arts and cultural management or management generally.
Some general management writers have suggested that management in
recent decades has primarily focussed on the tasks managers need
to deal with, at the expense of attending to the human element of
management. However in just a last few years the people
aspects are gaining more attention. Biddle and Evenden in the introduction
to their book Human Aspects of Management, suggested twenty
years ago that people matters have a greater impact on the effectiveness
of management than any other issue. Newer titles refer to managing
people, and managing yourself, building trust and relationships,
and most recently emotional intelligence.
evolved and changed considerably in the last century. There are
number of books which highlight or chronicle the developments. If
you are interested you might consult the slim volume by Carol Kennedy,
A Guide to Management Gurus.
Arts and cultural
management is not a coherent body of theory and practice. It is
similar to management practice in other fields in some regards and
we can learn from that literature. Our own literature is limited,
ambiguous, and often contradictory. It is complex and less systematic
and predictable than we might assume. Throughout this programme
set yourself two tasks:
- to develop
your own theory of what it means to manage the area of arts and
cultural practice of most interest to you.
- to develop
your understanding of your own management strengths and weaknesses.
of these notes, think about your own experience of managing and
perhaps of being managed by others.
Consider how they compare with some of these are ideas.
Paper by Janet Summerton