Art and Business Stereotypes Revealed

This morning Lisa Maddison received an email from Jess Henson, who seems quite sceptical about the work we're doing with the BAA programme. I almost shot off an emotional response, but then I thought that perhaps a more credible response would come from the delegates and lecturers on the programme.

Please have a read, and if you feel inclined to respond to Jess, please leave your comments here.

Subject: questions about biz acumen for artists course

dear Maddison

  • your breakdown for the course says "Transfer knowledge from other creative thinkers from across the creative industries, cultural sectors and associated professions". isn't that just a long winded way of saying "steal other peoples' ideas effectively"?

and "Generate possibilities through Improvisational Theatre and exposure to the skill of Active Listening"  - does that mean we get to play house? (erm, or office, i should rather say)

  • your established arts practitioners - are they participating in this course because you pay them kick ass rates, or because they can't afford to feed their pets on their life modelling salaries? who are they? and how do you gauge their creative and financial success?

  • how do you guarantee relevant processing if you're opening the course to any creative practitioner? you might end up with one poet and seven graphic designers. PR and marketing is very different for a rock n roll band than for a fine artist.

  • do you not provide a drop-in option for the course(or some other stratified approach) - someone may not need to go through the motivational work shopping, but might be looking for help with their admin...

  • i'm interested in knowing what research prompted (and supports) the information you share on this course, how the course has benefited participants in the past (if it's a rerun) and, considering it's a UCT initiative, how academic your approach is. i'm  weary and wary of  academia's myopia and  relative  unhelpfulness in the  working world... 

 many thanks for your time jess

My own comment: Firstly, neither the business school, the mentors, nor the lecturers are accepting any payment for their involvement in this programme. All revenue generated by the course fees goes to the renovation of the Obs Community Centre. This is a new project which I have personally undertaken to direct and design free of charge, because I care very deeply about the sustainability of artistic and creative endeavours in this country. If there is any doubt as to the credibility of the organisation behind the content on the programme (UCT Graduate School of Business), perhaps Jess should look at our standing in the international education and business community.

I believe that this programme cross-pollinates both the business and creative sectors, and that the economy of the 21st century is built on global collaboration and the spirit of abundance rather than that of scarcity and fear.

Lastly, I think that the best reflection of the value of the programme would come from the feedback of the delegates who are on this journey together. Sorry, but none of the people involved in this programme fit into the stereotypes you've constructed here. 

- Elaine Rumboll  MA (cum laude), MBA (Wits)

Director of Executive Education

UCT Graduate School of Business

(and Programme Director of Business Acumen for Artists)