Management Studio

We know arts administration is a creative practice, so we work and learn with a studio mindset.

The two-semester Management Studio curriculum is a project-based series of leadership and management courses designed to give Arts Administration graduate students an immersive studio-like learning experience. In addition to lectures, discussions, and workshops, students work in teams on real projects with partners from the professional creative sector in Chicago and beyond. The curriculum design integrates pedagogy and methods of professional practice from disciplines such as environmental studies; architecture and design; improvisation studies; policy; leadership and management; and wellbeing. The curriculum is predicated on a deep exploration of collaboration and is intended to be in continuous dialog with existing areas of department inquiry and beyond. The curriculum animates and extends SAIC’s Core Values, particularly as a course based trans-disciplinary hub for exchange, learning, and action. It is also a goal for course work to support opportunities for students to find inspiring employment after school and to participate in our highly engaged alumni network.

Management Studio I focuses primarily on complex intersecting systems of organizing culture (for example, organizations, networks and policy) and  strategies for addressing major issues facing leaders in the arts (and beyond). Management Studio projects, readings and discussions reflect the complexity of this activity in different ways. For example, some projects include multiple partners across the city while others might focus on start-up concepts requiring broad market research, or investigate larger institutional and policy questions such as advancing diversity, equity and inclusion in the arts. This core course invites students to think broadly and deeply about frameworks for learning to think politically and strategically about organizing culture.

Management Studio II focuses on skill building through workshops in areas such as strategy and planning, advocacy, policy research/development, accessibility, resource development/fundraising, evaluation, and communication strategy. Workshops include guest facilitators with particular areas of expertise, offering students an opportunity to build valuable relationships and leverage knowledge networks.

Our project partners have included: Chicago Cultural Center; Chicago Cultural Alliance; Homan Square Foundation; Lyric Opera; 3Walls; Chicago Dancemakers Forum; South East Chicago Commission; Hyde Park Art Center; Art Together; Chicago Architecture Biennial; Experimental Sound Studio; Chicago Artist Coalition; Borderland Collective; Chicago Reuse Exchange; the Highline Network; Chicago Parks District; Bosch Corporation; and more.