Introducing a New Book: “Cultural Management: Evolution and Education in the World”

Jane Zheng

Abstract: This paper introduces a newly published book titled, “Cultural Management: Evolution and Education in the World” by Jane Zheng. This book is written in service to Chinese cultural management educators, unfolding an overall picture of the evolution of the field and compiling a list of 760 programs from the global north. In addition, the book reviews the key issues in cultural management education, synthesizes teaching pedagogies, displays the distribution of cultural management programs across the globe, and suggests model curriculum structures.  The book provides rich information of literature and education practice to cultural management educators and students.

        The recent 20 years have witnessed a surge of arts and cultural management programs in China. Although the idea of “arts management” or “cultural management” originally came from Europe and America in the late 1980s, arts and cultural management education in China has its own definition and has grown on its own accord. A review of the Chinese cultural management literature shows that knowledge of cultural management education outside China is limited. To fill in the gap, this book is written to introduce the counterpart field in the West to serve Chinese cultural management educators. It is expected to enrich the Chinese literature on cultural management education. For China, experience from the West is crucial to prevent reinventing the wheel and to prepare educators in joining the international conversion on cultural management education. Research for this book project started in March 2016, and the data collection lasted for one year, and more than ten part-time research assistants participated in the data collection and translation. Furthermore, the writing and revision endured for one and a half year. The book was published by Chung Wah Book (Hong Kong) Limited Company in March 2019 [Fig.1, Fig.2].

        This book has the following seven research objectives:

  • To synthesize and narrate how the arts and cultural management field evolved and to develop an understanding about the nature, characteristics, and boundary of the field through a systematic review of the English literature;
  • To understand arts management, the core field of cultural management, on a number of issues, such as professional organizations, curriculum criteria, effectiveness of classroom teaching, key techniques, and academic research;
  • To formulate a conceptual framework toward understanding creative industry management education;
  • To identify cultural management programs in the developed world and compile them into a list;
  • To carry out statistical comparisons of data across continents and countries, educational levels, and program focuses and to reveal a pattern of distribution and composition;
  • To derive model curriculum structures from identified programs in arts management and cultural and creative industry fields; and
  • To synthesize teaching pedagogies and display career paths of graduates.

        Documentary analysis is the main research approach. A three-step data collection method was adopted to carry out a thorough search of cultural management programs through literature and the Internet. First, the research team collected data from the membership list of four leading associations, i.e., AAAE, ENCATC (European Network of Cultural Administration Training Centre), ANCER (Asia Pacific Network for Cultural Education and Research) and CAAAE (The Canadian Association of Arts Administration Educators). Art management website was another source of programs. Second, the team obtained a full list of universities of all target countries and then searched the Internet via “google” to see if any cultural management programs (may be in the name of “cultural management,” “arts management,” “arts administration,” “curation,” “creative industry,” and “cultural policy”) can be found in these universities. Third, the team checked the published directories (e.g., Directory of Cultural Administration and Arts Management Courses in Europe [1997] and Survey Commissioned to the European Network of Cultural Administration Training Centers by UNESCO [2003]) to supplement programs to the list. Ultimately, the team came up with 760 programs. Drawing on the data collected, I conducted descriptive statistics about education levels, program positioning and focuses, program objectives, and geographic distributions of these programs.

        What follows are the findings presented in each chapter of the book.

        Chapter 1 delineates a footpath of the field evolution: from “art promotion” to “arts management” to “cultural management.” “Arts management” was recognized and legitimized as a professional and disciplinary field in the 1960s. Prior to that, “art promotion” facilitates art production and marketing to actualize the social and economic values of artworks, the history of which can be traced to 2000 years ago. In the 1960s, a dramatic growth in the number of state-sponsored public and non-profit arts institutions and cultural organizations led to surging demand for professional arts manager trainings. Moreover, in 1965, the University of California, Los Angeles set up the first arts administration program in the US, and this initiative was followed by other higher educational institutions in the US, the UK, Canada, and Russia. The establishment of arts management academic journals, professional conference, professional education associations, and textbooks all pointed to an emerging field, i.e., arts management (Dewey, 2004, 2005; Evard and Colbert, 2000; Laughlin, 2017). Further, in the 1980s, the rhetorical shift from “arts management” to “cultural management” essentially indicates a paradigm shift from interests in fine arts toward a more broadly constructed cultural sector. The changing pace, however, is not uniform across the world. In some areas, “cultural management” is preferred over “arts management” (e.g., Europe and Canada), whereas in other areas (e.g., U.S.), “arts management” is more popular. Scholars (Dewey, 2004, 2005; Sikes, 2000) have corroborated that the “arts management” field is no longer limited to the management of public and non-profit fine arts organizations but has embraced for-profit cultural business management, creative place-making, creative industries, and cultural policies. As a corollary, this book adopts the term “cultural management” to refer to the broadened field of “arts management/arts administration.”

        Chapter 2 reviews and summarizes the arts management education literature. It lists the curriculum criteria set up by the American-based Association of Arts Administration Educators (AAAE) on both undergraduate and postgraduate levels and discusses the role of these criteria in arts management education. Moreover, it looks at changes in the criteria across different versions and reveals the underlying logic of revision. Three trends in arts management education are highlighted: this subject has been (1) increasingly interdisciplinary, (2) adaptive to “change management,” and (3) prolific in the publication of research and textbooks. The second half reflects on the effectiveness of arts management education through literature review. In addition, research projects (in 1998, 2004, 2012, and 2016) that evaluated the outcomes of arts management education are documented. For instance, one study has ranked all arts management courses according to the effectiveness of in-class teaching. The “Financial management” course fits best into a classroom setting. Next to that is the “communication and coordination” course. Moreover, another study has examined the scholarship of arts management in the past decades and called for improvement in research skills and capacity. The boundary of the field and its neighboring subjects are also discussed in the literature.

        Chapter 3 examines the cultural and creative industries and culture-led development, which are newly included components in the broadened area of “cultural management.” It elaborates the historical background of the rise of cultural and creative industries and cultural policies in different countries and discusses related terminologies (e.g., “innovation,” “creativity,” “entrepreneurship,” and “intellectual property”). Moreover, the creative industry is characterized as high technology driven and by market dynamics, high-risk investment, global trend, and impact, catering to which, this chapter proposes a conceptual framework for creative industry education. The second section elaborates pedagogies and teaching techniques for creative industry education. In addition, training methods for creativity, entrepreneurship, globalization, and networking are described and discussed. An experiential learning approach allows students to experience the process of organizing a real professional project and reflecting on the principles and techniques learned from textbooks. My own teaching experiences are incorporated as examples to illustrate the points.

        Part 2 reports findings from the empirical work. Chapter 4 unfolds an overall picture of cultural management programs in the developed world (38 developed countries and 3 regions), resulting from a thorough and systematic search for cultural management programs on the Internet.

        A total of 760 cultural management programs (including arts management, curatorship, theater management, and creative industry management) were identified across the global north. Statistical data affirm that Europe possesses the largest number of cultural management programs, 357 in total, among the four continents. Next is North America, which possesses 309 programs. Cultural management education is thriving in Asia; 63 were recorded in Asia’s developed countries and regions. The U.S possesses the largest number of cultural management programs; the total number is 285. Their goals and learning outcomes were shaped by the curriculum criteria set up by the AAAE. The UK owns 168 cultural management programs, next only to the U.S.

        Second, traditional arts management/arts administration training remains in the mainstream as the core of cultural management education. This tradition has been formed since the 1960s. A total of 55% of cultural management programs in the US and 56% in Canada stick to the arts management training tradition. In Australia, 50% of cultural management programs fall within the category of arts management. Further, “arts management” programs account for 43% of cultural management programs in Asia. An incidental yet observable trend is that countries have been actively responding to the cultural and creative industry fashion since the late 1990s. In addition, creative industry education has become a major focus of cultural management education in the UK, Australia, South Korea, and Singapore. In South Korea, creative industry programs have evidently outnumbered arts management programs. Similarly, in Singapore, the share of creative industry programs is equal to arts management.

        Third, most cultural management programs are master level courses. Remarkably higher portions of cultural management master programs are found in Europe and Oceania (64% and 60%, respectively). Nonetheless, North America is one exception, where undergraduate programs outnumber master programs. Particularly, 39.2% of cultural management programs in the US are undergraduate programs; this number exceeds master programs by 4.2%. Most BA cultural management programs (47%) in the world are devoted to traditional arts management education, and master programs share the same feature.

        Fourth, disparity in training objectives across countries is noticeable. Most programs in the US are positioned to train arts management professionals to serve public and non-profit cultural organizations. In Europe, much emphasis is placed on general humanities, which is generally understood as the foundation of arts management education. An interesting phenomenon in Asia is a relatively higher portion of programs focusing on cultural planning and urban development.

        Chapters 5 and 6 derive the model curriculum structures from 760 cultural management programs, highlighting the unique merits of the curriculum design. Specifically, Chapter 5 discusses the curriculum design in arts management education. One model categorizes programs into “visual arts management” and “performing arts management.” The former includes the curation and museum studies courses, while the latter includes the theater management and music industry courses. Another model divides programs into three types. Type 1 is an incorporation of visual arts and business management training; Type 2 focuses on basic business trainings coupled with elective courses of art production; and Type 3 incorporates the influences of new trends (e.g., high technology, globalization, and market dynamics).

        One example of the recommended model curriculum structures comprises seven functional modules. It first lays a theoretical foundation for students to understand the nature and characteristics of public and non-profit cultural organizations, which operate by general managerial principles for organizations. Further, it hones students’ critical thinking and enhances their capacity for arts management. Courses of cultural policy and research methods are included. In addition, cultural management internship equips students with hands-on experiences and skills. Finally, off-campus activities are organized to assist students in building up professional networking toward long-term career development. One strength of this curriculum design is the overarching structure that comprehensively encompasses the theoretical background, practical knowledge, and pre-requisite operational techniques for professional arts managers. Moreover, it balances research trainings and internships.

       Chapter 6 focuses on the teaching structure for creative industry education. Applying the conceptual framework formulated in Chapter 3, this chapter derives seven model curriculum structures from cases. One model combines fundamental management theories for creative industry organizations and specialized electives for specific creative industry sectors. Another model structure is dedicated to enhancing students’ capacity of creative industry production management in three aspects. First, students are trained with broad humanity courses, which enable them to narrate stories and create creative contents for a creative industry product. Second, the program imparts media or digital techniques that serve to convert artworks into digital products. Third, students are trained to operate creative industry organizations with managerial skills. The third model structure focuses on creative industry production and trains the core techniques for cultural production, and the fourth model aims to advance the key characteristics of creative industries, such as innovation, creativity, entrepreneurship, globalization, and market dynamics. Through the program, students will be equipped with creativity and entrepreneurial spirit. They are capable of coordinating market dynamics and promoting technological innovation. Furthermore, the fifth model understands “creative industry” as an umbrella term that encompasses various specific industry sectors and prepares students for careers in specific creative sectors, e.g., jewelry design, publishing, and media courses. In the sixth model, students are trained to be all-rounder talents with a mindset of creative milieu. In addition, this model provides training for research and cultural business entrepreneurship. The last model focuses on creative place making, cultural business, culture-led city development, and tourism. Students will learn to conduct consultancy research for public and private sectors.

        Chapter 7 reports the findings about pedagogies and teaching skills from the empirical studies of cultural management programs.

        Part 3 (volume 2) lists all the 760 cultural management programs, and the brief profile of each program and website addresses are provided.

        This book makes a few breakthrough contributions. It will broaden the horizon of cultural management educators and researchers in China by opening a window toward the global north and celebrates cultural management education at the dawn of a new era.

Acknowledgement: The author would like to thank Professor Raphaela Henze and all other scholars who provided support for my work in the “Brokering Intercultural Exchange” Network.


Dewey, P. (2004). From arts management to cultural administration. International Journal of Arts Management, 6(3), 13-22. 

———–. (2005). Systemic capacity building in cultural administration. International Journal of Arts Management, 8(1), 8-20. 

Evard, Y., & Colbert, F. (2000). Arts management: A new discipline entering the millennium? International Journal of Arts Management, 2(2), 4-14.

Laughlin, S. (2017). Defining and Transforming education: Association of arts administration educators. The Journal of Arts Management, Law, and Society, 47(1), 82-87. 

Sikes, M. (2000). Higher education training in arts administration: A millennial and metaphoric reappraisal. Journal of Arts Management, Law, and Society, 30(2), 91-101. 

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