Arts Management Education in Universities
Mari Kobayashi (Associate Professor of Tokyo University)
Arts management courses and departments were first established at Japanese universities and other institutions of higher education in the 1990s. More than 50 schools now offer some form of education in this field. These programs aim to “link society and the arts” or “change society by means of the arts,” and they are not limited to university campuses. In some cases, universities themselves are getting involved as major players in arts management.
There are four reasons which account for the rise in arts management education. First of all, a 1980 public opinion survey revealed that the number of people seeking “emotional fulfillment” was greater than the number seeking “material fulfillment.” This shows that people have become more interested in the arts than before. Second, the favorable economic conditions of the 1980s encouraged local governments (prefectural and municipal) to construct large numbers of art museums, concert halls, theaters, artists’ studios, and other cultural facilities. Third, both the national and local governments increased public subsidies for the arts, thus leading to the need for personnel who could make artistic organizations run smoothly and deal with public funding institutions.
The fourth factor involved the circumstances of the individual universities. With fewer children being born, universities began looking into possible reforms during the 1980s, and this included taking a close look at arts management as a new type of personnel training on which universities and faculties could stake their survival. Traditional arts-oriented universities were motivated to go into arts management as they realized that their previous efforts had not succeeded in linking the arts to society.
Examples and Trends
Japan’s first university courses in arts management were taught by the Faculty of Literature at Keio University in 1991. They were set up according to the concept of nurturing a good audience. Presently the courses are open to working people, and the Research Center for Art and Arts Administration has sponsored the development of a graduate-level course that emphasizes marketing and incorporates methodology taught at the Harvard Business School. In 2005, a graduate course for mature students with work experience in the field was established.
The first arts university to set up a department of arts management was Showa University of Music which established a Department of Music and Arts Management as a part of its Faculty of Music in 1994. When the department was first founded, it invited instructors from overseas universities, such as UCLA and Golden Gate University, to conduct American-style arts management education, including courses that incorporated marketing, organizational theory, cultural policy, and the cultural environment.
Showa University of Music has a strong relationship with the Fujiwara Opera Company, one of Japan’s major private opera companies, and it produces fully-fledged operas on campus as a practical learning experience for its students. It has also linked up with the Koidegô Cultural Hall, a public theater in Niigata Prefecture. Performers teach and perform at the university with their students, who are then also sent to perform at other halls. The Showa campus moved to new facilities in 2007, and now has a large hall that seats 1,367, a medium-size hall (359) and a small hall (180), all of which are actively being used for concerts.
Just as arts universities naturally have instructors and students engaged in artistic activities, arts management courses also consist of more than mere lectures. In most cases, students pursue practically oriented activities. In 1997, the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music opened its Center for Musical Performance as a facility for shared use on campus. It provides a venue where artists can create new, integrated works of theatrical art. The Faculty of Fine Arts is also carrying out a variety of art events in its Ueno Town Art Museum located in Taito Ward where the school’s main offices are located. In Toride, Ibaraki Prefecture, the location of the Inter Media Art Department of the Faculty of Fine Arts, the university has led the local government, community, and students in working together to plan and implement the outdoor Toride Art Project. In Yokohama, where the school’s Graduate School of Film and New Media is located, the city is cooperating with various activities to create expressions of the city’s logo “The City of Film Culture.”
Kyoto University of Art and Design, where Kabuki actor Ichikawa En’nosuke served as vice-president (he has since been succeeded by lyricist Akimoto Yasushi and architect Yokouchi Toshihito), constructed the Kyoto Performing Arts Center, consisting of the 800-seat ShunjyÛza and the 200-seat Studio 21, in 2001. This facility is used not only as a venue for education and training but has also as a regional theater, with resident producers staging productions for a general audience. Students in the departments of film and of performing arts are not the only ones to use this arts center: those in the weaving and dyeing course produce draperies, those in the Fashion Design Department put on fashion shows, the Information Design Department produces posters and flyers, the Spatial Production Design Department works on stage production, and students in the Japanese and Western Painting Department make lobby displays. When the university puts on dramatic productions, trained students are in charge of what happens both onstage and backstage.
J. F. Oberlin (ôbirin) University began practical artistic education in 2005, assisted by director
(currently professor at the Center for the Study of Communication-Design of Osaka University). Prunus Hall, which the university built in front of the train station, is operated by both professionals and students. The hall is actively used for performances open to the public and is contributing to local outreach. In 2006, Osaka University of Arts also opened its own theater.
In the United States, university theaters are a part of the local community art scene, but in Japan, universities have traditionally been operated as closed research institutes. With this fact in mind, it is worth noting that this series of experiments is a new effort that is changing the relationship between the universities and their local communities.
Nagata Ken’ichi, Professor of Art at Chiba University, has guided his school in sending students out into the community to do fieldwork while cooperating with local residents in planning, producing, and implementing such activities as The Art Project of Kemigawa Transmission Place, a project using an abandoned building. Increasing numbers of individual professors and their students have been carrying out different projects in the area.
New faculties and graduate schools are being founded in which arts management is treated as a field related to public administration or public policy, whether at the municipal or regional level. Shizuoka University of Art and Culture, founded in 2000 by Shizuoka Prefecture and the city of Hamamatsu, is home to Japan’s first Faculty of Cultural Policy and Management, and it includes the Department of Art Management. The university is being administered with increasing awareness of the need to be “open to the community,” and the fully staged firelight Nô performances that the students plan and produce are open to the public. In addition, Shizuoka Prefecture provides material support for recitals of entrants in the International Opera Competition in Shizuoka. In this and other ways, the projects produced in cooperation with the local government are being used as opportunities for practical learning.
Issues in Arts Management Education
As we have seen, the phrase “arts management education” can denote a variety of courses, and it is clear that the concept of arts management covers a broad area. When this kind of education first began at the university level, most courses were in lecture form, and there was criticism of them as mere education for cultural enrichment. Nowadays, however, courses include practical instruction and exercises. Recently, short-term internships have been introduced as part of these arts management programs.
Communities have begun to demand that universities operate more openly and be increasingly available to them, and many attempts have been made to contribute to the welfare of the region through arts management. These efforts are gradually beginning to bear fruit. On the other hand, the public cultural institutions that were expected to need personnel trained in arts management have not shown much awareness of this specialized occupation. Even though the personnel have received training, they have limited opportunities to make use of their skills. An imbalance between supply and demand has thus become a problem.
Academic associations that support this type of university education and research include the Japan Association for Cultural Economics, founded in 1992, the Japan Museum Management Academy, founded in 1995, and the Japan Association for Arts Management, founded in 1998.