I pass now to my third and final aspect, that is, the implications of common conceptions of art and the receptiveness of ideas that challenge those conceptions. One of the ideas challenging art today is related to entrepreneurship. In part this also happens because it seems that artists are being pushed to become several things apart from or aside of being “simply” artists, either out of personal necessity or in consequence of an array of visions about art that make of art a substitute for politics, social and civic awareness, spiritual and ethical experience, personal growing and fulfillment, and so on. Of course, I am not reducing the importance of those dimensions in the practicing of arts, and especially in the performing arts, mainly because there is no specific object of the arts but the artist himself or herself, the world at large and other people.
Nevertheless, whenever one has to consider such a topic as entrepreneurship among artists, one has a sense of discomfort coming out, I think, of a common and wide spread notion of art that is related to the idea of art for art’s sake, having its roots in romanticism (l’art pour l’art
, by the nineteenth century French philosopher Victor Cousin). At the same time, though, artists tend to have, fortunately, strong reasons for doing what they found, sometimes, even mysteriously, compelled to do, that is, art. And these reasons imply usually the consideration of others things or the calling upon what I would describe as external factors that are paradoxical with a strong version of the motto art for art’s sake. This is particularly evident, for instance, in the case of performing art students, initiating their studies and not only because of a lack of theoretical argumentation or aesthetic naiveté, but simply because they believe that their future jobs are somehow related with the production of meaning to life. As Bridgstock says:when artists are asked about their motivations for making art, they give a variety of answers, some of which do indeed imply instrumental reasons for practice at least some of the time. The artistic protean career, with its emphasis on personal motivations for career and psychological success, does seem to involve intrinsic motivations such as artistic fulfillment and growth, creation of beauty, engaging in challenge and creating something entirely new. However, just as often (and often at the same time), artists report extrinsic motivations such as connection and communication with others; building community; recognition from colleagues and career furtherment [sic]; contribution to the growth and development of their artforms; and making a living (…). Of course there are also some artists who are strongly motivated by profit. For instance, Warhol (1975) famously stated ‘making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art’. (128-129)
And maybe this is also why it seems that both artists and entrepreneurs are very keen of the objective of creating social welfare, in the process of becoming socially acknowledged.
Be as it may, it seems now important to draw some conclusions from what has been said that are related to arts curricula design. The first thing is that it seems quite persuasive to advocate a relation between arts and entrepreneurship, not because they are incongruent with each other but, the other way around, that is, because they apparently share innumerous aspects, being the salient one the fact that they constitute themselves in the process of acting in a particular form. As Rikke L. Heinsen (2018) suggests, the entrepreneurial approach to arts, specifically, to performing arts, implies “the creation of new learning spaces in order to ‘stretch’ reflection competences through reflection methods” (2018: 1). These are not necessarily theoretical, but characterized by disturbance, changing of positions and decision-making processes that “expand creation possibilities”. Necessarily, this implies rethinking the role of teacher as one that is capable and has the courage to inhabit and to mediate unstable places in order to organize the unpredictable:by seeing artistic entrepreneurship as an important and integrated part of a modern performance school and by exploring the position of creation while we look upon entrepreneurship as a creation of new realities, maybe we can cultivate an environment for mediators and curators who are willing to ‘stretch’ themselves, to be unstable, uncertain and keen to expand the field TOGETHER with the students. Mediators or curators who are solidly placed in their different disciplines but who are always curious to enter the field ofinterdisciplinarity. Learners who are more interested in the interdependent acts and the generative acts than the act of the individual and the talent. (…)We need to make new narratives and disrupt routines! (Heinsen, 2018: 6, pdf. not published)
It seems to me that Heinsen’s view and style are easily related to a few basic ideas that can lead to curricula improvements in performing arts higher education.Following Heinsen, Bridgstock (2014) and Preece (2011), I conclude stressing severalaspects. Entrepreneurship can suggest important changing, especially in the pedagogicand methodological dimensions of creation and project oriented work. It is imperative to orient students for the building of an “adaptative career identity”. This adaptative career identity tries to answer, since the beginning, to basic questions such as “Why am I doing this?”; “Do I want to do it?”, “Who am I, while doing this?”, “Who I want to be?”, etc., and emphasizes the studying and understanding of processes and contexts of art, professional contexts of art and organizations of art. Such procedures, as the building of art portfolios, seem determinant, not only after the conclusion of a specific degree, but during all its completion. The acquisition of multidisciplinary skills, including entrepreneurial ones, should not be seen and presented as a response to a specific need, that come as a fixed set of contents, but as a toolbox for expanding the practice and, at the same time, to disrupt and reframe its position, unveiling unexpected opportunities. Project based curricula seems a place for training a diverse set of skills and competences, potentially encompassing all the creation cycle in its different dimensions and implications, private, collective, and public. Finally, as Heinsen seems to imply when she says “We need to make new narratives and disrupt routines!”, there is an element of passion and courage involved in all this that, maybe, will change our expected biographies and come as a surprise.References
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