Creating Successful Cultural Brokers: The Pros and Cons of a Community of Practice Approach in Arts Management Education

Bree Jamila Hadley


Arts managers play a critical role in creating a strong, sustainable arts and cultural sector. They operate as brokers, creating programs, and, more critically, coordinating the relationships between artists, audiences, communities, governments and sponsors required to make these programs a success. Based on study of model developed for a subject in the Master of Creative Industries (Creative Production & Arts Management) at Queensland University of Technology (QUT), this paper examines the pros and cons of a 'community of practice' approach in training arts management students to act as cultural brokers. It provides data on the effectiveness of a range of activities including Position Papers, Case Studies, Masterclasses, and offline and online conversations that can be used facilitate the peer-to-peer engagement by which students work together to build their cultural brokering skills in a community of practice. The data demonstrates that, whilst students appreciate this approach, educators must provide enough access to voices of authority that is, to arts professionals to establish a well-functioning community of practice, and ensure that more expert students do not become frustrated when they are unwittingly and unwillingly thrust into this role by less expert classmates. This is especially important in arts management, where classes are always diverse, due to the fact that most dedicated programs in Australia, as in the US, UK and Europe, are taught via small-scale programs at graduate level which accept applicants from a wide variety of arts and non-arts backgrounds.


Arts and Cultural Management, Cultural Brokering, Arts Management Education, Community of Practice

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Asia Pacific Journal of Arts and Cultural Management; ISSN 1449-1184
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