The Case for Cultural Fluency

WDET Cultural Fluency

In this excerpt from "The Case for Cultural Fluency," Mikel Ellcessor introduces the concept of Cultural Fluency as it can be applied by arts and culture leaders. You can read and download his full white paper here.  It’s déjà vu all over again. Picture this: you are in a meeting and you have been in this meeting many times. After another detailed mapping of the problem, someone takes a stab at a solution and says it: “We have to move beyond the current audience and into new audiences and communities.” This feels like success, right? … [Read more...]

Getting Unstuck: Developing Skills to Climb the Leadership Ladder

photo: inspiredhomefitness via flickr

Many great thinkers in our field have discussed the complexity of talent development and succession planning in the cultural sector. Marc Vogl, who works with arts and culture organizations in his role as Principal of Vogl Consulting, aptly describes the problem as a clogged and leaky pipeline. Basically, there are a small number of leadership positions at the top, often held for many years by the same people (that’s the clogged part) and therefore more junior employees are stuck at their current level, growing increasingly tired of waiting … [Read more...]

Creating the 21st Century Board

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Editor’s note: Over the next two weeks, we’ll feature posts around the final convening of our Chief Executive Program, The Summit at Sundance. We invite you to participate in an online discussion of four major issues facing the cultural field. In this post, Alorie Clark introduces the second problem statement. Governance is a certainly a hot topic for the nonprofit sector. Many organizations are finding that the traditional governance model isn’t working so well, sometimes leading to more stress than success. When considering all that … [Read more...]

Board Membership: Finding the Right Fit

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As an emerging leader, it can be difficult finding a nonprofit board to join. I am full of passion, curiosity, hunger and drive, but figuring out the right organization in which to invest this energy can be challenging. Having taken the board and governance elective during my graduate school program, I am now interested in turning theoretical knowledge into practical experience. With an ultimate goal of becoming an executive director, I hope to start gaining governance experience as soon as possible. How do you begin to search for nonprofit … [Read more...]

Avoiding Brain Freeze: Wellness in the Workplace

CC image by Krosk@

Working in the arts can be extremely stressful. Coordinating exhibits, performances and openings takes much work, organization and cooperation. Personally, I love controlled chaos of starting a new run, but I know how mentally taxing it can be. As an emerging leader, I have not yet encountered mental burn out from working in the arts. I also manage to maintain a pretty good work/life balance. However, I have participated in and overheard conversations with many senior leaders about the challenges of maintaining balance while holding high-demand … [Read more...]

Tell me about a time…

WeWantYou

Hearing about how our colleagues in the field address challenges can be extremely motivating and energizing. But sometimes, it’s hard to see how the steps one organization took can be translated to our own work. There’s no carbon copy solution to the issues facing the field but we can certainly benefit from understanding others’ experiences. What’s important is to find the key lessons that emerge from an experience rather than focus on the how-to of a particular example. At NAS, we love digging into stories from the field to find these learning … [Read more...]

What does it mean to be a cultural leader?

Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Leaders

The experience of being in a place for five days with an amazingly diverse and talented group of individuals through the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Leaders has left me completely changed. I have to admit that all the conversations that took place floated and tumbled around my head when I was there, and I kept struggling with what this meant for me in my day-to-day reality. As an arts administrator working with education and community partnerships, and specifically advocating for engagement with the most at-risk, I tried to flesh … [Read more...]

How do arts and culture institutions deal with issues of cultural identity?

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Watch the following video in which Yudhishthir Raj Isar, professor of Cultural Policy Studies at The American University of Paris and a faculty member of the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Leaders, talks about the responsibility that arts and culture organizations have to provide cultural translation.     Add your voice to the discussion. Use the comments below to weigh in with your thoughts on the effects of globalization on the cultural sector.   … [Read more...]

What is the role of an arts and culture leader in today’s society?

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Watch the following video in which Mulenga Kapwepwe, Chairperson of the National Arts Council of Zambia and a faculty member of the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Leaders, suggests that arts leaders are best equipped to shape the future.     Add your voice to the discussion. Use the comments below to weigh in with your thoughts on the role of an arts leader.   … [Read more...]

Guthrie Theater’s debt to women and diversity

Do nonprofit cultural organizations have a particular responsibility to reach into and represent all parts of the community?  Does the benefit of nonprofit status require us to take more risks than commercial theatre?  A recent article explores the Minneapolis community’s reaction to the lack of diversity in a local theatre’s upcoming season.  While this piece focuses on the choices of one artistic director, other leaders in the field have also argued that not all organizations should feel obligated to be diverse.  On the other hand, leadership … [Read more...]