I’ll be the first to admit that it’s easy to take potshots at an industry when you don’t take the next step and suggest alternatives. Weblogs in general, and this one as well, seem to be wonderful platforms for potshots, but often only sketchy at solutions. They are on-line rants, after all, intended to be short and pithy.
So, this weekend, I’m taking a small step toward a different way of seeing things. With friends and associates John Kreidler (of Cultural Initiatives Silicon Valley) and Russell W. Taylor (of National Arts Strategies), my graduate center is co-hosting a roundtable of some of the smartest individuals we know in the field of arts and culture.
The Cultural Dynamics Project is an attempt to use new eyes on a young industry. In this case, the eyes are ‘systems thinking,’ a discipline of mapping and analyzing complex, interrelated systems (like viruses, social services, migration patterns, and intergalactic space). We conveners of this event have a hunch that there are some interesting opportunities in applying this discipline to our understanding of arts and culture in America. So the smart people are coming to give the idea a test drive.
Of course, it may be just us. In which case, we’ll merrily return to our potshots and ranting. But if it sticks, the application of systems thinking to arts and cultural management may become an on-going project of my center, and an alternative suggested in the midst of my on-line rants. I’ll keep you posted.