Art and artists have a special ability to provoke thinking, to use creativity and innovation, to improvise and experiment, to extract the “invisible”, to symbolize, to bring our emotions on the surface. Artists experiment, raise awareness, challenge us, make our life more inspiring and beautiful. In our research works and training related to arts management, we usually look at how we could apply managerial methods to effectively run artistic organizations and projects.
Let’s take another perspective: Can business, management and organizational studies learn from artistic methods and from the way artists approach the world? Artistic practices are full of diverse learning experiences on how to contextualize, how to innovate, how to improvise, how to create new ways of doing things, how to differentiate, concentrate, focus, explore. Talented artists have visions and at the same time they live in “the now”: a good combination of strategic approach and exploring daily life. All these approaches could be quite relevant to development of business strategies and tools. For example, the paper Arts-based training in management development: the use of improvisational theatre, by Stephen Gibb, (Department of HRM, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK) describes and critically evaluates the use of Arts-Based Training (ABT) by exploring a case involving the use of improvisational theatre techniques as an element of management development.
There are worldwide examples on how art methods can be used in the field of health care: Art therapy is one of them: this is a form of expressive therapy that uses the creative process of making art to improve a person’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being. The creative process involved in expressing one’s self artistically can help people to resolve issues as well as develop and manage their behaviors and feelings, reduce stress, and improve their self-esteem and awareness. Art Therapy blog is one of the many online platforms exploring the arts as a catalyst for healing and therapy.
Artistic practices could be applied successfully in other areas such as law and justice (e.g. theatrical way of presenting a case in the court), or education and training (e.g. using creative processes from choreography, theatre, or music to research and examine risk management, conflict resolution, team building, stock market behaviour, etc.)
Below are three examples of international networks and associations using such cross-boundaries approaches – exploring how arts and creativity can not only bring inspiration and beauty to our life, but can be a catalyst for finding solutions to societal and managerial problems.
AACORN (arts aesthetics, creativity & organisation research network) develops and promotes the field of organizational aesthetics. Members of the network aim at providing a wide range of forums where researchers interested in connecting art, aesthetics, and creative practice within organizational and work settings can meet, exchange ideas, share resources, and experiment with new forms of thinking and practice. These forums include things like websites, conferences, joint publications, and joint action events. Look here for conferences, exhibitions, and other events that connect the arts and aesthetics with management , leadership, and organizations. There are also calls for papers for publication and/or presentation.
European Group for Organisational Studies is a scholarly association which aims to further the theoretical and/or empirical advancement of knowledge about organizations, organizing and the contexts in which organizations operate. It has an associated journal – Organization Studies – and holds an annual conference (EGOS Colloquium) in July. The association provides a forum for identifying and discussing key issues in organizational theory and practice. Critical refection on the most recent ideas and theoretical approaches is at the core of the association’s activities.
The Creative Skills Training Council (CSTC) is an online community of creative practitioners made up of business executives, academics, designers, artists, behaviourial and cognitive scientists involved in advancing the practice of creative skills and capabilities development in business, organizations and government through aesthetic processes and creativity thinking tools and systems. It has members from the America, Australia, Canada, Norway, Singapore, United Kingdom that are committed to researching, exploring, sharing and commenting on the concerns and opportunities experienced and expressed globally in this vital new industry, the training of creative skills. The CSTC uses LibraryThing, an online global library network to list its book recommendations. CSTC members add their favourite titles to the list and LibraryThing then adds recommendations of similar titles or titles in the same theme and offers a social network around our recommended readings.
Finally, Art and Organizational Sustainability is a new project of David O’Brien Centre for Sustainable Enterprise, Montreal, in collaboration with ICN Business School and the ARTEM Program, France. Researchers are exploring the use of the arts and art-based methods for understanding enterprise sustainability. The project examines the dynamic relations between art, aesthetics and sustainable development of organizations. ARTEM is an innovative and original alliance project in which the three elite learning institutions in Nancy came together around the concept “Art, Technology and Management: the National School of Mining, the Nancy Business School and the National School of Art”. The new multi-disciplinary research units range from economy to knowledge engineering, risk and uncertainty analysis and management, or design, media and technological arts.
The Healing Art: Photo credit: Darina V.