Diane Ragsdale is an Assistant Professor in the College of Performing Arts at The New School, where she also serves as Program Director for the MA in Arts Management and Entrepreneurship. She is also a doctoral candidate at Erasmus University Rotterdam (in the Netherlands), where she lectured 2011-2015 in the cultural economics and sociology of the arts programs. Her research centers on the relationship between nonprofit resident professional theaters in America and Broadway (the commercial theater center in the US), and how this relationship has evolved since the mid-twentieth century. (Those interested in this topic may want to read her 2011 HowlRound publication, In the Intersection: Partnerships in the New Play Sector, a report on a meeting of nonprofit and commercial theater producers).
Diane lectured extensively at Erasmus University, on such topics as the creative economy & creative organizations, arts management, and the organization of art and culture. In 2015 she was visiting guest artist/lecturer at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, under the aegis of the Business School, where she designed and taught an experimental (and successful) course on aesthetics and business (called Approaching Beauty: Aesthetic Development in Work and Life). You can read about this course on Jumper.
Alongside her current post at the New School Diane teaches on the Cultural Leadership Program at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in Canada and teaches a workshop on Cultural Policy at Yale University for its Theater Management MA. In addition to lecturing (in both academic and professional settings) Diane provides a range of advising, research, and education services to the arts and culture sector (in the US and abroad); and is a frequent provocateur or interlocutor at arts conferences and symposia around the world.
From 2004-2010, Diane was a program officer for theater and dance at The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in NYC; and, before that, she served as managing director of the contemporary performing arts center, On the Boards (Seattle) and executive director of an eclectic music festival in the small resort town of Sandpoint, Idaho. She also held part-time stints at a handful of other US music, arts, and film festivals (Sundance, Seattle International Film Festival, WOMAD USA, and Bumbershoot). Early in her career Diane trained and worked as a theatermaker.
Diane has contributed articles to several publications, including “On Entrepreneurship and Publicness (Or, Whose Theatre is it, Really?)” for the Winter 2017 issue of Artivate, “Recreating Fine Arts Institutions,” which was published in the fall 2009 issue of the Stanford Social Innovation Review, and “Rethinking Cultural Philanthropy,” which was commissioned and published in 2011 by the Royal Society for the Encouragement of the Arts (the RSA). In 2012, she contributed essays to two books: “Creative Destruction” in Counting New Beans: Intrinsic Impact and the Value of Art (edited by Clayton Lord and published by Theatre Bay Area); and “Producer-Consumer Engagement: The Lessons of Slow Food for the Reflective Arts” in Building Communities, Not Audiences (by Doug Borwick). She has served on the editorial board of Artivate: A Journal of Entrepreneurship in the Arts since 2011.
Diane holds an MFA in Acting & Directing from University of Missouri Kansas City and a BS in Psychology and BFA in Theater from Tulane University in New Orleans. In 2002, she attended the inaugural Executive Program for Nonprofit Leaders at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business (a program of National Art Strategies). In recent years she has attended three Salzburg Global Seminars–twice as a participant, and once as a speaker–and has participated in a week-long training/residency program with the organization Common Cause.
Diane is married to Dutchman Jaap Boter, a scholar with posts at the University of Amsterdam and the VU University Amsterdam. He holds an MA in Musicology and a PhD in Business Economics.
—Last updated May 2018