NPAC: Assessing the Capacity for Collective Action in the Performance Arts Field
In 2008, the National Performing Arts Convention embarked on an ambitious goal: to bring together over 3700 professionals arts leaders across performing arts disciplines to learn from each other, identify common goals, and advance a field-wide agenda.
Several questions faced leaders as they debated and dialogued at the Convention: Was collective action possible in the often fragmented and competitive performing arts field? What were the opportunities for action? What constraints needed to be addressed now, and in the future?
The Curb Center report, 2008 National Performing Arts Convention: Assessing the Field’s Capacity for Collective Action, presents findings from research conducted around the 2008 NPAC convention.
The report focuses on three key questions:
What recommendations could be made to the performing arts field as it embarked on its ambitious collective action agenda?
Where could energies best be directed—at the individual, organizational, local, and national level?
How might unspoken and deeply held assumptions about the value of the arts, the nature of the public interest, the role and mission of nonprofit arts organizations, and the nature of the challenges and opportunities ahead shape the possibilities for collective action?
Bringing insights from these three questions together, the report offers the opportunity to generate a new, vibrant discussion around the performing arts field’s capacity for leadership, innovation, and collective action in the 21st century.
Research project leadership
The report presents findings from the “I-DOC” (Interview, Document, Observe and Clarify) research team led by Elizabeth Long Lingo, Assistant Director of the Curb Center for Art, Enterprise & Public Policy at Vanderbilt University, and Andrew Taylor, Director of the Bolz Center for Arts Administration at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The report also benefitted from the support and contributions of Steven Tepper, Bill Ivey, Caroline Lee and Alberta Arthurs.
Building a future generation of cultural policy scholars
The research project also enlisted graduate students from arts administration, arts management, sociology, and cultural policy programs and centers from across the U.S. to be the “eyes and ears” of the process. By involving these future scholars, policy makers, and practitioners as the principal researchers, interviewers, and documentarians, the I-DOC process also provided an intensive and immersive learning opportunity for a next generation of leaders.