An international approach to training the next generation of arts managers – In conversation with Alex Turrini, SDA Bocconi


Alex TurriniAlex Turrini is a member of the MMIAM Program Committee, in addition to being former Director of the Master in Arts Management and Administration (MAMA) at SDA Bocconi in Milan. Alex has been instrumental in developing the academic program for the MMIAM program in Milan.  We asked him to talk a bit about the focus of study at SDA Bocconi, the final phase of the MMIAM year.

SDA Bocconi in Milan is the third and final phase of the MMIAM program, from the end of April until the end of July.  What is the focus of study in Milan?

When in Milan, MMIAM students explore the arts world in Europe from an artistic and managerial/policy perspective. They are engaged in field projects, off-campus visits and guest lectures with practitioners within the three workshops SDA Bocconi develops for MMIAM: the performing arts workshop, the heritage management workshop and the consulting management workshop. The latter brings students to work for an Italian institution which engages them as consultants. Last year, we worked in Chiusi (close to Siena, Tuscany), investigating the rebranding of this little city that is one of the most important Etruscan cities in Italy. This year we will partner with the City of Cremona, the birthplace of Stradivari.


Teamwork project for the city of Chiusi. Photo credit: Alex Turrini.

Why do you think the specific study of international arts management is important for the profession and for the cultural sector?

The globalization of the cultural sector is happening at a very fast pace. Even careers in the arts are more and more international. Let’s take Italy as an example. Ten years ago, no one could have ever imagined that the director of the Uffizi Gallery would be German! In this context, an arts manager needs to understand quickly the different cultural mindset, institutional arrangements, backgrounds. Being an international arts manager is a necessity nowadays.

What innovative ideas have you observed in the cultural sector in Italy which are leading the new wave in cultural management?

I see cultural innovation and entrepreneurship emerging as a new wave in the Italian cultural arena. Thanks to new technologies and innovative ideas, startups are flourishing in the field. It’s normal. If the cultural sector or the arts do not welcome and foster innovation, what is their true value?

The MMIAM program is unique in that it is the only international arts management program which is taught on three campuses of internationallyrecognized universities.  Why do you think this model is so important for the students?

I think that field experiences in different settings accelerate the capacity of learning. Many top universities explore double and triple degrees for this reason. In the arts, MMIAM stands alone as the only program giving students this opportunity in outstanding universities in the field of arts management and entrepreneurship.

MMIAM students from the 4th cohort visiting Teatro Franco Parenti in Milan

MMIAM students from the 4th cohort visiting Teatro Franco Parenti in Milan. Photo credit: Alex Turrini.

At Bocconi, the MMIAM students are in classes together with students from the MAMA program.  How does this model benefit the students in both programs?

The Masters in Arts Management and Administration (MAMA) is a resident Masters program at Bocconi designed to strengthen management competencies for students passionate about the arts. Thanks to this ‘injection’, the MMIAM students have the opportunity to grow their professional networks. We believe that nurturing an exclusive international network of arts professionals and managers will benefit the arts organizations who choose this talent for their management teams. They may be assured of the management focus and skills of MAMA-MMIAM graduates. It will also help the MAMA-MMIAM alumni to share information and professional advice from their peers. I believe that often managers find solutions to their workplace problems outside their organizations and the MAMA-MMIAM network might be the place to find those solutions.

A visit of the France pavillion at the Milan World Expo 2015

A visit of the France pavillion at the Milan World Expo 2015. Photo credit: Laura Adlers.

Innovation and International Best Practices Key to Success of Australian Orchestras

Sophie Galaise (photo: Daniel Aulsebrook)

Sophie Galaise, who is also a member of the MMIAM International Advisory Committee, joined the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra as its first female Managing Director in April 2016. She is renowned for her extensive experience working with orchestras, not only at the executive level, but also as a professional musician and musicologist.  Laura Adlers met with Sophie via Skype to discuss the business of managing professional orchestras in different parts of the world.

Does being a professional musician make you a better arts leader or do you think one can be a good arts leader without the artistic background?

Well, I am in the category of artist who became an arts manager, and I believe it helps, it gives you an advantage, because you really know the product, you can have more in-depth conversations and I believe, yes, you can be a fantastic manager without being a musician, but you will always have to work harder to gain a full understanding of the product.

For instance, your Music Director comes to you and says he wants to do the Mahler 8th Symphony next year. You would need to know that the Mahler 8th nickname is the ‘Symphony of a thousand’ (1000 musicians and singers), so you could expect a very large budget for the production.  If you don’t know that, you may have a conversation where you say, no problem, it is just one more symphony and you end up having a big surprise. I have seen interesting situations in the past where managers had a big surprise, because they didn’t have that knowledge. I suppose I am on the side that believes it is better to be knowledgeable as a professional musician working as an arts manager.  Finally, I still believe you can be a great manager without being a professional musician, but being a professional musician gives you an extra advantage.

Sir Andrew Davis conducting the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. Photo: Peter Tarasiuk.

Sir Andrew Davis conducting the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. Photo: Peter Tarasiuk.

You are a professional musician who transitioned to a career as an internationally-recognized arts leader and have held leadership positions in Europe, Canada and Australia.  Are there notable differences in the practice of arts management between countries?

Many aspects of managing orchestras around the world are pretty similar. There is one big difference, however. In North America, there is a stronger focus on fundraising, because, for example, in the United States, public funding is so low that it is absolutely necessary to fundraise. Around the world, most orchestras can count on revenue sources from public funding. Everyone relies on earned revenue (subscription, ticket sales, hires) and private revenue (donations, corporate partnerships). The vast majority of orchestras from around the world rely on public funding, private and earned revenues. Everyone is trying to achieve balanced ratios (1/3, 1/3, 1/3).   I have yet to see an orchestra in a country that can do without public funding. Orchestras are helping with cultural diplomacy, showcasing new works, engaging with communities, etc. I believe they are playing an important role in the ecology of the arts.

Fixed costs are the biggest expense in any orchestra’s budget, most notably salaries for all of the musicians and staff.  On average, musicians outnumber staff. The Los Angeles Philharmonic is an exception, with 150 staff and 100 musicians. It is important to note that 1/3 of the administrative staff are in fundraising and development. They are a huge fundraising machine! This is a new tendency in the United States, but I am not sure this will be the model moving forward.  At this point it is the US reality.

In Australia, professional orchestras rely on the three types of revenue. Federal and state funding makes for most of the public funding. They are starting to fundraise and are looking to increase donations more than in the past, but this is relatively new. Historically, the six professional state orchestras were part of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. They demerged about twenty years ago and became independent not-for-profit organizations. They are quite new to fundraising, but they are also very keen and very capable.

The big difference between Australia and Canada in terms of orchestras is that in Australia, the government decided to really focus on having one professional orchestra per state and fund them appropriately. This is why there are only six professional orchestras in Australia.  In Canada, a much larger group is funded, including major orchestras, regional orchestras, chamber orchestras, and so forth.

Only 28 major performing arts organizations are actually recognized and funded as “major” in Australia. This includes dance, theatre, opera, orchestras and one circus company. They are funded by a Commonwealth Fund administered by the Australian Council for the Arts.  It is a very finite number responding to very specific criteria that are approved for funding. Once your performing arts organization has been recognized as such, you must comply and meet these criteria or risk losing your funding.  In Canada, it is a different and broader approach.

What innovative ideas have you observed in the cultural sector in Australia which are leading the new wave in cultural management?

Australians are aware that they are very far from the rest of the world, here down under. It is a relatively young country. Australians are keen on best practices. They follow what is happening in other countries, particularly in the United Kingdom. They feel a close historical association to England and European countries.  Every year, the association of Australian Orchestras invite arts leaders from international orchestras to come to Australia. We regularly get major orchestras to tour Australia. When they do, we meet with management to learn about their business models and best practices.  In my opinion, there is a burning desire to accomplish great things, perhaps because Australia is a relatively young country.  They are not afraid to innovate, and ideas seem to evolve faster than in Canada, for example.  They are very attuned to what is happening in other parts of the world, and this perhaps gives them the confidence and drives them to take calculated risks.  Australians are very positive people and the country has not seen a recession in over 25 years, so there is a distinct trend towards innovation and bold new ideas.

Personal and professional transformation lead MMIAM graduate to new career path in Hawaii

In addition to his work at the theatre, John stays active creatively as an independent filmmaker. Check out his latest work at

jw-headshot-john-wells-smJohn Wells was an arts educator at a high school in Los Angeles, and a freelance script supervisor at the Colony Theatre in Burbank, California before joining the second cohort of the MMIAM program.  He graduated in 2015 and is now the Operations Coordinator at the Kennedy Theatre at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in addition to working as an independent filmmaker.  As someone coming from a teaching background, why was he drawn to this graduate program? Laura Adlers interviewed him via Skype at his new home in Hawaii to learn more about his experience with the program and his new career path.

As someone coming from a teaching background, why were you drawn to this graduate program?

I had always been passionate about the arts, but wanted to develop a solid foundation in arts management which would allow me to help others in achieving their artistic goals.  This, combined with an incessant desire to travel and explore different cultures, seemed like a great fit for me to expand my horizons and gain valuable experience.

What aspect(s) of the program were the most valuable to you for your career and why?

There was a turning point for me – professionally and personally – in Montreal. Our final project for Wendy Reid’s class Leadership in the Context of Cultural Organizations involved going out into the field and conducting interviews with organizations that we were most interested in. The initiative that this project required was crucial because it got us talking to the people we envisioned ourselves working with one day. When you’re in a classroom for most of the year, you don’t really get experiential learning opportunities like this. So the whole process was a breath of fresh air, and it catalyzed a networking growth spurt for me, for lack of better words.

We ended up taking a group trip to Toronto where I interviewed more organizations, and it really got me feeling comfortable walking into rooms and talking about the work that’s being done in the arts. I also landed an internship during this time (outside the program), and I credit that largely to the confidence that came from putting myself out there, failing, and doing it again and again.

What did you gain personally and professionally from living and studying in four different countries with students from around the world?

In many ways, I learned more from my classmates than I did from the classroom materials. And that’s not a knock on the instructors, it’s just that when you live and work so intimately with the same group of people for a year, you forge relationships that help you discover things about yourself and other cultures.

It’s not a walk in the park, though. Sometimes we like to think that we live in a utopian, globalized world where we’re all connected and harmonious. The truth is that engaging with other cultures and developing relationships takes sensitivity, tact, and hard work to make things happen. We’re all human, and what bonded us in this program was our common mission to enliven the arts, innovate in business, and inspire for the good.

In addition to his work at the theatre, John stays active creatively as an independent filmmaker. Check out his latest work at

In addition to his work at the theatre, John stays active creatively as an independent filmmaker. Check out his latest work at

Which campus abroad was the most memorable for you and why?

The stay in Italy was such an invaluable experience for me on every level. I interned at the Milano Film Festival, and the experience of being immersed in a completely different culture was at first pretty alienating. But as I began to show through my work how much I cared about the mission of the organization, I began to forge relationships and share in the beauty of the festival.

I don’t mean to get metaphysical or anything, but there’s a certain feeling you get when you’re halfway across the world, as an American interning at a film festival in Milan (they jokingly called me their “illegal alien”), bonding with a Russian co-worker while eating Italian food at a Chinese restaurant. When you find those moments, where you can experience genuine connections with people over something as banal as a bowl of spaghetti, you realize there’s a universality there you may have never seen before. I’m most grateful for this.

The Kennedy Theatre at the University of Hawaii at Manoa

The Impact of Service Elements on the Artistic Experience: The Case of Classical Music Concerts (Abridged)


By Antonella Carù, Bernard Cova

A trend in the field of marketing is to analyze consumers’ growing preference for being immersed in a thematic setting instead of being offered a finished product.[1] [2] [3] [4]

Ivars Taurins as Herr Handel in Tafelmusik's Sing-Along Messiah. Photo: Gary Beechey

Ivars Taurins as Herr Handel in Tafelmusik’s Sing-Along Messiah. Photo: Gary Beechey

Above and beyond this particular concept, today’s marketing is being driven by a host of new theoretical constructs ranging from experiential marketing[5] [6] to the idea that immersion can be used as a way of designing consumers’ extraordinary experiences.[7] If there is one type of consumer experience where the immersion construct is (and has long been) frequently used, it is the artistic one.[8] In the ideal, this type of experience is akin to diving into the deep end of a pool – it is a total immersion that will transform the individual. In other words, the artistic experience belongs to the category of so-called aesthetic experiences[9] [10] and is a fundamentally embodied one.[11] But as demonstrated so impressively by researchers focusing on the artistic experience[12] [13] and on the appropriation work that must be undertaken[14] [15], immersion can be difficult to achieve – particularly in the case of avant-garde or classical works that from the outset establish a certain distance from the general public, especially if presented within the confines of a designated environment such as a concert hall.

The purpose of the study is to identify those service elements that influence an individual consumer’s immersion in an arts experience.

The “appropriation of space – be it public or private – is tantamount to acting on something that exists outside of yourself, the goal being to make it your own and to recognize your own position within this space”.[16]

Such an approach suggests that consumers summon up certain competencies largely because they wish to become the main builders and co-creators of a given artistic experience[17] and do so by developing a multidimensional (i.e., not only physical but also mental, emotional and spiritual) “home.” Thus, immersion exists when the consumer is able to enact the artistic experience by means of so-called appropriation methods or operations that will allow him/her to minimize or avoid distancing.research-fig1

This metaphorical approach allows us to re-situate the main space-appropriation operations within a theoretical framework capable of accounting for the particular type of appropriation that is at stake in a given artistic experience. The framework shown in Figure 1 can be explained in this way:

Nesting. The individual feels at home because s/he isolates a part of the particular artistic experience, a part that is familiar to him/her because of his/her accumulated experience and foothold in it. The individual will often find comfort in sticking to a single track, instrument or piece of art that s/he tries to control by pushing aside anything else that crops up in the experiential framework.

Investigating. Starting from the nest that has been built in this fashion, the individual explores new elements in order to develop her/his points of anchorage and control (signposts) – for example, by looking through a CD for songs s/he already knows, listening to them again and then listening to the tracks just before or just after them; this enhances knowledge of the context of the particular artistic experience whilst progressively extending one’s territory.

Stamping. The individual attributes a specific meaning to an artistic experience or to a portion of it. This will not be the meaning commonly ascribed to the experience but a personal one, built on the foundations of the individual’s own referents, history and so on. For example, someone invited to a concert by a friend might feel that “for me this is not an 18th-century classical music concert but Toni’s concert, since it was she who invited me to it.” Here, the individual uses creativity to play around with the experience’s context subjectively, whilst imbuing it with his/her own personal meaning.

The consumer is now in a position to access the artistic experience, in whole or in part, thereby becoming immersed.

It should be noted that the processes used to access an experience and/or to apprehend the role of antecedents may diverge due to the varying intensity of the different artistic experiences. Visiting a museum, listening to a concert and watching a film are different processes, so the concepts being analyzed can be applied in various ways. In fact, in each of these experiences the individual’s level of participation will vary; it can be active or passive, and thus have a different effect. One’s involvement/participation will vary as well; it can be physical, intellectual or both.[18] Control over the experience will also vary – for example, in terms of the timing of the event – or else there exists the possibility that only some of the stimuli to which one is being submitted will be selected.

Analysis revealed that the three operations making up the appropriation cycle of an artistic experience can be broken into sub-operations that enrich the overall model. In particular, nesting appears to present a wide range of sensations linked to the search for anchors, both before and during a performance. For the investigating operation, all reports reveal a path lying somewhere between the description of events and the discovery of something. Finally, two activities typified stamping: the ascribing of significance to elements in the experience, and the forming of impressions about the experience itself.


Twelve years later, this theory is more relevant today than ever before, and can be applied to many cultural settings. The full article can be downloaded from the International Journal of Arts Management, Volume 7, Number 2 – Winter 2005


[1] Firat, A.F., and N. Dholakia. 1998. Consuming People: From Political Economy to Theaters of Consumption. London: Routledge.

[2] Firat, A.F., N. Dholakia and A. Venkatesh. 1995. “Marketing in a Postmodern World.” European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 29, no 1, p. 40-56.

[3] Firat, A.F., and C.J. Shultz. 1997. “From Segmentation to Fragmentation: Markets and Marketing Strategy in a Postmodern Era.” European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 31, no 3/4, p. 187-207.

[4] Goulding, C., A. Shankar and R. Elliott. 2002. “Working Weeks, Rave Weekends: Identity Fragmentation and the Emergence of New Communities.” Consumption, Markets and Culture, Vol. 5, no 4, p. 261-284.

[5] Pine, B.J., and J.H. Gilmore. 1999. The Experience Economy: Work Is Theatre and Every Business a Stage. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Business Press.

[6] Schmitt, B.H. 1999. Experiential Marketing: How to Get Customers to SENSE, FEEL, THINK, ACT and RELATE to Your Company and Brands. New York: Free Press.

[7] Arnould, E., L. Price and G. Zinkhan. 2002. Consumers. New York: McGraw-Hill.

[8] Duhaime, C., A. Joy and C. Ross. 1995. “Learning to ‘See’: A Folk Phenomenology of the Consumption of Contemporary Canadian Art.” In Contemporary Marketing and Consumer Behavior: An Anthropological Sourcebook, J.F. Sherry, ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, p. 351-398.

[9] Csikszentmihalyi, M., and R.E. Robinson. 1990. The Art of Seeing. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum.

[10] Denzin, N.K. 1992. Symbolic Interactionism and Cultural Studies: The Politics of Interpretation. Cambridge: Blackwell.

[11] Joy, A., and J.R. Sherry. 2003. “Speaking of Art as Embodied Imagination: A Multi-sensory Approach to Understanding Aesthetic Experience.” Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 30, September, p. 259-282.

[12] Spranzi, A. 2001. “L’innovazione nel marketing dell’arte: Un caso paradigmatico di economia dell’inovazione.” Sinergie, Rapporto di ricerca, no 11.

[13] Weltzl-Fairchild, A., and L.M. Dubé. 1998. “Le multi-média peut-il aider à réduire la dissonance cognitive?” Publics et Musées, no 13, p. 17-28.

[14] Caune, J. 1999. Pour une éthique de la médiation: le sens des pratiques culturelles. Grenoble: Presses de l’Université de Grenoble.

[15] Ficht, B.T. 2000. À l’ombre de la littérature. Montréal: XYZ.

[16] Serfaty-Garzon, P. 2003a. Chez soi. Les territoires de l’intimité. Paris: Armand Collin, p. 89.

[17] Joy, A., and J.R. Sherry. 2003. “Speaking of Art as Embodied Imagination: A Multi-sensory Approach to Understanding Aesthetic Experience.” Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 30, September, p. 259-282.

[18] Pine, B.J., and J.H. Gilmore. 1999. The Experience Economy: Work Is Theatre and Every Business a Stage. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Business Press.

About us

Laura Adlers, M.M., Editor

Laura Adlers completed her Master of Management in International Arts Management (M.M.) in 2015, through studies at HEC Montréal, Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Universidad de los Andes in Bogotà, and SDA Bocconi in Milan. She is the Editor of the MMIAM blog, a new initiative designed to share stories about the MMIAM program and the field of international arts.

Laura has over 20 years of experience in the private, not-for-profit and public sectors in Canada, the United States and internationally, with specialization working in the cultural sector. Recognized for her leadership skills, she has worked primarily with performing artists and arts organizations, both in Canada and abroad, and is known in particular for her work with Canadian and international choirs. Her wide range of experience has focused on small to mid-sized not-for-profit arts organizations, and has included program development, marketing and public relations, project management, fundraising, and stakeholder and community engagement.

More recently, she has been focused on international projects and is actively researching and advocating for issues concerning the training and retention of culture managers both in Canada and abroad. In addition, she is developing seminars and learning tools for artists and arts organizations to teach them about all aspects of culture management and help them reach their full professional and organizational potential.

When she is not managing the business of the arts, Laura works as a writer, editor, Latvian – English translator and is a member of the Latvian Literature Association in Riga. For more information, visit

Program Committee

colbertfrancois-sm-e1338320398844François Colbert is Professor of Marketing and holder of the Carmelle and Rémi Marcoux Chair in Arts Management at HEC Montréal. In addition to his duties as supervisor of the master’s program in International Arts Management (MMIAM), he is founding Editor and Executive Director of the International Journal of Arts Management (IJAM), published by the Chair in Arts Management.
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james-hart-sq-150x150James Hart is an award-winning director of arts entrepreneurship and professor of practice at Meadows School of the Arts, where he serves as interim chair for the Division of Arts Management and Arts Entrepreneurship. Hart currently administers two AMAE Masters programs (M.A./M.B.A. and M.M. in International Arts Management), two undergraduate minors (Arts Management and Arts Entrepreneurship), and the Meadows Artist Bridge.
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aturrini-hd-sq-150x150Alex Turrini is SDA Professor of Public and Nonprofit Management. Since January 2017, he is Public Management and Policy Faculty Deputy at SDA Bocconi School of Management. He is tenured Associate Professor in the same fields at Bocconi University.
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Welcome to The MMIAM Journey : Shining a Spotlight on the Business of the Arts


by Laura Adlers, M.M., Editor.

Laura Adlers Throughout my career as an arts manager I have been asked: “But, what exactly is an arts manager? What do you do for a living?” Arts managers are producers of cultural events and managers of cultural products of various disciplines. They manage small to mid-sized cultural not-for-profit organizations, and they are business leaders of larger creative industries.


They may specialize in one of the disciplines of not-for-profit management: marketing and publicity; fundraising and development; volunteer management; project and event management; program development; or community and stakeholder relations — or they may be generalists who are involved in all aspects of arts management. Some arts managers are artists themselves, and still others are deeply passionate about the arts, but more comfortable behind the scenes.

I fall into the latter category. Raised in a musical Latvian family, I was exposed to choral singing at a very young age. I attended a Latvian music camp in Mount Orford, Quebec at the age of 15, where I had the opportunity to meet professional musicians and hear their performances, and to participate in my first choral masterclasses.

As much as I enjoyed this incredible musical experience, I was most curious about what was happening behind the scenes, what the producer of this music camp was doing to make it all happen. Inspired by her administrative prowess, I produced my first amateur chamber music concert at a church in downtown Toronto three years later at the age of 18.

After gaining valuable business experience in the corporate sector, I began a full-time career in arts management, working primarily with choral organizations and festivals in Toronto. Many years later, I had the distinct privilege of partnering with a Latvian conductor to represent him and his choir internationally and organize special projects and tours across Europe and North America over a five-year period. Collaborating with arts organizations in other parts of the world opened my eyes to different business practices and approaches, and the world of international arts management. It was through this experience that I was inspired to broaden my career path to learn about and work with international organizations on global cultural projects.

The Master of Management in International Arts Management program was launched in 2013. At this point, I had been working as a professional arts manager for over twenty years, and the opportunity to leave my familiar surroundings, to experience a year of study, learning about different arts management practices on four very diverse international campuses, with students from around the world, was the kind of challenge I was looking for. My story is one of many which led to the MMIAM program. This blog is an extension of that journey.

Welcome to The MMIAM Journey, a blog about the Master of Management in International Arts Management program. Every month, we will share the academic and personal experiences of MMIAM alumni and interview members of our International Advisory Committee and faculty about their projects, research and perspectives. As an added bonus, we will publish a summary of a research article or company profile from HEC’s International Journal of Arts Management. We hope you enjoy learning more about our unique program and reading about the challenges and trends we are seeing in the field of arts management around the world today.

Street art tour in Bogota, Colombia, for Laura's cohort

Street art tour in Bogota, Colombia, for Laura’s cohort.

Audacious New Moves Open Les Grands Ballets’ Season


Alain Dancyger (photo: Ari Tapiero)Alain Dancyger is the Executive Director of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens and a member of the MMIAM International Advisory Committee. In 2017, Alain, his team and his partners (Agora de la danse, Tangente and l’École de danse contemporaine de Montréal) realized the dream of creating “Espace danse”, an extraordinary international centre for dance in the heart of Montréal’s cultural district. What was the driving force behind Dancyger’s ambitious plans for Les Grands Ballets?

There is a trend in the cultural sector towards finding innovative ways to engage with the audience and break down the wall between artist and audience. Do you think this is important and what is Les Grands Ballets doing to address this?

There is a belief in the industry that if you are a cultural organization, you have to stick to cultural activities. Does this mean that everything we do has to be connected to ballet? At Les Grands Ballets, we do a lot of things which are not traditional. Several years ago, we decided to adopt a holistic approach to the dance industry and our organization. My belief is that if you are not connected to real life experiences, how can you connect with people? So a lot of our new programs are a result of this philosophy.

An activity at Les Grands Ballets Canadiens' National Centre for Dance Therapy. Photo: Damian Siqueiros / Zetaproduction

An activity at Les Grands Ballets Canadiens’ National Centre for Dance Therapy. Photo: Damian Siqueiros / Zetaproduction

We have created over 25 new projects and over 50 international partnerships, which include the creation of the National Centre for Dance Therapy, our new “Adapted Dance” classes for people with specific health issues, such as autism spectrum disorder and Down syndrome, and our new recreational dance program. We had over 600 people registered for September!

With the design of the new space, I want to ensure that the values, audacity, and innovation of the organization will be felt in most parts of the building. We are showcasing elements of dance throughout the building, and giving a sense of the history of the organization. We are creating a Hall of Fame and showcasing many of the ballet costumes, for instance, so that people will walk through and have an experience, be surprised. The space has to tell a story.

Les Grands Ballets Canadiens' The Nutcracker. Photo: Damian Siqueiros / Zetaproduction; Dancer: VeraLes Grands Ballets tours internationally on a regular basis, in addition to inviting international dance organizations to perform in Montréal. What specific skills are needed to manage these international projects which differ from managing organizations at a local community level?

First of all, when Les Grands Ballets tours internationally, we are ambassadors of Montréal, Québec and Canada to the rest of the world. We must be adaptable to the way that other countries do business and be well-informed about cultural sensivity and attitudes in different parts of the world. Although this can be challenging, this is also a great source of enrichment for the company. We learn a lot from other cultures and environments. This often triggers ideas for future projects and collaborations.

How would you define what an arts manager does?

An arts manager should be a visionary, almost like a conductor, who inspires and leads people, but who is also very detail-oriented. Arts managers have to operate at a grass-roots level, very involved with the people who make the organization tick, but also have to lead and have the big ideas which inspire their team and their audience. I often say that I don’t like business plans, but I do believe in having a strong mission and, once everyone is on board with a new idea, we work together to plan accordingly and realize the idea.

What specific qualities do you look for when you are hiring an arts manager that are unique to the industry?

If I am looking for a marketing person, they obviously have to have experience in this field, and there may be many people who fit this criteria. Ultimately, the most important consideration is whether their values connect with our values. I am looking for a good fit for the organization. I may interview someone who is very experienced, but they clearly lack empathy for their coworkers and for the artists. This is not a good fit for our organization. What makes a big difference at Les Grands Ballets is shared human experiences. I like to build extremely diversified teams with very different experiences and backgrounds, but who share common values.

Why do you think studies in international arts management are important for the profession and for the cultural sector?

Everything is global now, we are an international community and we continue to build this community. This is a very natural environment for millennials, and not so natural for older generations. The MMIAM program is very important, because it opens up that world, allows students to get to know what brings us together, what the key differences are, the key factors of success for different organizations in different parts of the world. It provides graduates with the necessary tools to succeed and triggers new ideas which will eventually belong to the world. For instance, when I imagined our new Dance Therapy Centre, I never thought it would be happening only in Montréal, I always imagined we would have international partners, creating something that we would share with the world.
Dance-therapy program at Les Grands Ballets Canadiens. Photo: Damian Siqueiros / Zetaproduction

Subscribers’ Overall Evaluation of a Multi-experience Cultural Service, Tolerance for Disappointment, and Sustainable Loyalty (Abridged)


by Zakia Obaidalahe, Francis Salerno, François Colbert.

Both the core product and the peripheral services can trigger emotions in audience members[i]. Indeed, consumers who experience a positive emotion while attending a concert are likely to recommend the orchestra, while negative emotions tend to produce the opposite effect.

The consumer’s satisfaction can be seen in terms of a chain of events composed of the following elements: Event, Emotions, Trust, Value, Involvement, Satisfaction, Repurchase Intentions, Word-of-Mouth and Recommendation (Figure 1). A positive emotion or evaluation of the core product or the peripheral services and the social environment not only helps build the consumer’s trust, but also creates value in the eyes of the audience. Trust and a perception of value lead to involvement, which, in turn, influences satisfaction. While it is unlikely that a satisfied customer will come back to see the same work a second time, it is likely they will return to see another concert by the same orchestra (repurchase intention) and they may say good things about it (word-of-mouth) and recommend the concert or orchestra to others (recommendation). The opposite is also true: negative emotions in relation to the three dimensions of the cultural offering will diminish trust in the organization and reduce involvement, which in turn leads to dissatisfaction or disappointment.research-article-purchase-repurchase-model

The Importance of Tolerance for Disappointment

The consumption of cultural products carries an inherent risk due to the fact that each new artistic offering is different from the others. For example, a theatre is constantly in the position of offering a new product. However, a theatre subscriber can mitigate potential disappointment by offsetting an experience of a bad performance with other play during the season. Similarly, a negative emotion in relation to the core service (the show) can be offset by the positive emotions triggered by the peripheral services or social interactions experienced during the event.

For example, the works proposed to subscribers of the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago are highly challenging, but subscribers say that they remain loyal to Steppenwolf because even if they don’t like a show, they know they can always count on exceptionally good acting[ii]. In fact, these subscribers identify with the theatre and are willing to tolerate a certain amount of disappointment.

Sustainable subscriber loyalty is thus reflected in two main dimensions: subscription renewal intention and recommendation intention.

Feelings of disappointment generated by bad concerts are tolerated because they are offset by the good concerts, as well as by the positive experiences with peripheral services and social interactions.

The sustainable loyalty that occurs when subscribers renew their subscription and make positive recommendations to others reflects a genuine form of loyalty. This loyalty behaviour can be explained by a combination of emotional, social, individual and situational factors that reflect the multidimensional nature of high art products mentioned earlier.

It is important for managers of organisations that offer season subscriptions to pay special attention to all peripheral services and to social interaction in order to build or maintain subscriber loyalty in spite of the inevitable disappointment subscribers may experience in relation to certain events. Services these managers should focus on include ensuring a hospitable welcome and environment, the comfort of the venue, personalized relations with customers, the creation of a friendly space for gatherings and discussion, food and beverage services, etc.

Managers should also strive to enhance the audience’s experience of the venue as a creator of social ties. Audience members are generally very appreciative of the opportunity to meet with the artists, discuss performances with other audience members and debate with the artistic team, and they derive special satisfaction when they receive a warm welcome from the theatre’s staff. The role of social identification should also be acknowledged by managers through a diversification of audiences in order to counter the traditional image of orchestra concerts as elitist.

Melbourne Symphony Orchestra doing a concert of the soundtrack to the movie Psycho. Photo: Daniel Aulsebrook

Melbourne Symphony Orchestra doing a concert of the soundtrack to the movie Psycho. Photo: Daniel Aulsebrook

Path to fidelity

As shown in Figure 1, customer service is an important component of the aesthetic experience in the arts sector. It is part of a chain of elements that can lead to either a rejection of the work or venue, on the one hand, or loyalty and recommendations to others, on the other hand.

Emotions are generated by three components of the experience: the concert itself, the quality of the peripheral services, and social interaction and the formation of small worlds[iii]. These three components are themselves influenced by the audience’s ability to pass through the appropriation cycle and to integrate the new elements of the performance in their nest[iv]. Similarly, the pro-social values demonstrated by the concert venue tend to have a positive influence on the music lover’s appreciation of the company, particularly in the case of women[v].

All these elements trigger emotions in audience members that lead them to attach value to their experience and, in turn, this value influences their involvement in the venue and builds their trust in the organization.

If this chain is negative, consumers who have a tolerance for disappointment may nonetheless feel satisfied and go back a second time and/or recommend the company to others. On the other hand, if they have no tolerance for disappointment, there is a risk that they could reject the organization.

As we can see, the role of the manager of arts organisations, even if he or she has nothing to do with the work of art itself (this falls under the responsibility of the artistic director), can positively influence the experience of live performance by creating an environment that enhances the experience.

The complete article is published in the International Journal of Arts Management, Volume 20, Number 1, Fall 2017.

[i] Palmer, A., & Koenig-Lewis, N. (2010), “Primary and Secondary Effects of Emotions on Behavioural Intention of Theatre Clients”, Journal of Marketing Management, 26(13/14), 1201-1217.

[ii] Ravanas, P. (2006), “Born to Be Wise: The Steppenwolf Theatre Company Mixes Freedom with Management Savvy”, International Journal of Arts Management, 8 (3), 64-76.

[iii] Gainer, B. (1995), “Rituals and Relationships: Interpersonal Influences on Shared Consumption”, Journal of Business Research, 32, 253-260.

[iv] Caru, A., B. Cova, (2005), “The Impact of Service Elements on the Artistic Experience: The Case of Classical Music Concerts.” International Journal of Arts Management, 7(2) 39–55.

[v] Voss, Z.G., V. Cova (2006), “How sex differences in perceptions influence customer Satisfaction: A Study of Theatre Audiences”, Marketing Theory, 6(2), 201-221

From Buddies to Brampton: Managing Cultural Policy and Planning in One of Canada’s Fastest Growing Cities


Brendan HealyBrendan Healy was Artistic Director of the world-renowned Buddies in Bad Times Theatre in Toronto for seven seasons. He graduated from the MMIAM program in 2016 and is now the Artistic Director of Performing Arts for the City of Brampton.  What motivated him to pursue the MMIAM program and how has his career path changed as a result? Laura Adlers caught up with Brendan in Brampton to find out more.

Why did you decide to pursue graduate studies in international arts management?

I was ready for new challenges and I wanted to run a larger organization. Although I felt that I had good managerial instincts, I also knew that I was missing some fundamentals in management and business to get to the next level. My educational background to date had only been in art school. I forged my career as a theatre director before moving into artistic direction and management.

What are your primary responsibilities as Artistic Director of Performing Arts for the City of Brampton?

Brampton is a former sleepy suburb of Toronto that has in recent years grown into one of the largest cities in Canada. Its growth rate is one of the highest in North America, it has the youngest median age in the country, and over 65% of the population is non-white. As part of my portfolio, I am responsible for the management and programming of five venues spread across the city. I also participate in the development and articulation of cultural policy at the municipal level.

Rose Theatre in Brampton. Photo: John Ryan.

Rose Theatre in Brampton. Photo: John Ryan.

Which courses in the MMIAM program were the most valuable to you for your career and why?

Each course had a lot to offer me, but I believe that my thesis research is the thing I will carry with me the longest in my profession. It gave me the opportunity to dig deeply into an area of professional curiosity – organizational innovation in non-profit theatres –  and I was able to research an international organization that I had long admired, South London’s Battersea Arts Centre. It truly felt like the culmination of so much of what I had learned and it allowed me to tackle a number of questions that had been circulating in my head for a while.

What did you gain personally and professionally from living and studying in four different countries with students from around the world?

Adaptability is a big one. The ability to perceive and acknowledge differences while also finding commonalities is another one. But, most importantly, I expanded my toolbox of ideas, approaches, and solutions to managerial problems.

Which campus abroad was the most memorable for you and why?

What made them all memorable was how they compared to and contrasted with one another. It’s really hard to look at them in isolation. However, on an emotional level, I was particularly moved by our time in Bogotá. There is an energy to that city that is so incredibly exciting and I find the ways in which culture and community intersect there to be very beautiful.

What is one of the greatest challenges facing arts managers in Canada today?
How do you think these challenges need to be addressed?

There are currently a number of social, economic, political and technological changes that are impacting arts management in Canada. The country is going through tremendous demographic changes, rooted in immigration and urbanization. The rapid evolution of the internet and mobile technologies have induced huge changes in customer behavior. Audiences have an unprecedented level of choice for arts, entertainment and culture, and this has resulted in the proliferation of multiple, smaller niche audiences. The amount of free entertainment and user-generated content on the internet has created a challenge for traditional arts and culture institutions that operate under a different paradigm. The relative uncertainty of the economy and the slow recovery from the 2007 financial crisis have had an impact on the long-term reliability of public funding.

All of these challenges mean that arts managers of the future will need to focus on innovative, outside-the-box thinking to stay alive and relevant. This means looking at new ways of developing and integrating audiences in cultural institutions that undo some of the rigid separations between artists and audiences. It means actively disrupting the Eurocentric narratives and colonial dynamics that get perpetuated through institutionalized art and culture. It means fully embracing technologies and the multiple ways in which they can enhance and/or form the backbone of a cultural experience. It means expanding the way in which arts and culture defines its value to society beyond the “art for art’s sake” argument. It means looking at new managerial structures inside our arts organizations that foster greater adaptability and responsiveness to the needs of the communities that we serve.

HEC Montréal, SMU, and SDA Bocconi School of Management are accepting applications for the Master of Management in International Arts Management

Monday October 24, 2016 – HEC Montréal and Southern Methodist University’s Arts Management and Arts Entrepreneurship division, in collaboration with SDA Bocconi School of Management, are now accepting applications for the fifth cohort of their joint Master of Management in International Arts Management (MMIAM) program, which will run from August 2017 to July 2018. This unique graduate degree is the first to focus on issues specific to international arts management and to approach arts management from a global perspective.

The intensive 45-credit program is offered in English and includes one four-month term at each of the three partner universities (in Montréal, Dallas and Milan), in addition to a 10-day session at the Universidad de los Andes School of Management in Bogotá, Colombia. Within the program’s first four classes, 18 nationalities were represented; in each class, students came from no fewer than six countries. The program prepares students to manage and lead international arts and cultural organizations. Merit-based scholarships are offered.

“The internationalization of markets is present in the cultural sector as in any other part of the economy. Arts organizations want to export their products. Managers must be prepared to help their company make this move to the international world. Working globally means adapting to others. We have built a program that puts the student in the position of experiencing other cultures, a program where they live not only an academic experience but also a cultural as well as a human experience,” says HEC Montréal Professor François Colbert, Holder of the Carmelle and Rémi Marcoux Chair in Arts Management and co-director of the program

Video: Difference between a traditional Arts Management program and the MMIAM program


The Master of Management in International Arts Management

Coursework focuses on international marketing of cultural industries, arts marketing, leadership in the context of cultural organizations, international law and the arts, information technologies for arts and culture, cultural economics and the international art market, fundraising in the arts, and new forms of innovation, as well as other areas of arts management. In-classroom coursework is further enhanced through visits to a range of arts organizations in each university’s surrounding region. The main objective of the international campus abroad at Bogotá is to explore the specificities of managerial processes involved in the cultural life of Latin America.

Each of the partner universities is widely recognized for its existing programs in nonprofit as well as for-profit arts administration, with courses addressing the unique challenges of leading arts organizations.

Canadian graduates of the MMIAM classes have gone on to excel in a range of arts leadership positions, for instance:

  • Laura Adlers of Toronto, Ontario, has been appointed Business Development Officer at Canadian Heritage’s International Partnerships Division in Ottawa;
  • Aude Gagnon-Raymond of Montréal, Quebec, is Director, Operations Support for the Touring Shows Division at Cirque du Soleil in Montréal;
  • Brendan Healy of Toronto, Ontario, is Artistic Director of the Magnetic North Festival in Ottawa;
  • Amanda Vojvodin of Windsor, Ontario, is Junior Manager of Marketing and Commerce at Louisiane Spa, HCP Group in Paris and Milan;
  • Derek Stevenson of Lethbridge, Alberta, is General Manager at the New West Theatre Society in Lethbridge.

Other graduates of the MMIAM classes hold such positions as support for the sponsorship, fundraising and social responsibility area at Bogotá’s Teatro Mayor Julio Mario Santo Domingo; Third Secretary of the Eurasia Division of the European Affairs Bureau at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Korea, Seoul; International Culture Projects Graduate at Red Bull in Salzburg, Austria; and Operations Coordinator and Box Office Manager at the Kennedy Theatre, University of Hawaii in Honolulu, to name a few.


About HEC Montréal

HEC Montréal is an internationally renowned business school, with over 13,000 students. Every year it trains more than 8,000 executives and managers. The School holds many prestigious accreditations and offers some 50 programs of study at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. It is one of the most active business schools in Canada in terms of research, with approximately 50 research units, including 27 chairs (six of which are Canada Research Chairs). With a faculty of 270, HEC Montréal offers programs in several languages and attracts students from 143 countries. Since its founding in 1907, the School has trained more than 82,000 students in all fields of management. | Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn

About Southern Methodist University’s Meadows School of the Art, Dallas

A nationally ranked private university with seven degree-granting schools, SMU is a distinguished center for teaching and research located in the heart of Dallas.  The Meadows School of the Arts, formally established at SMU in 1969 and named in honor of benefactor Algur H. Meadows, is one of the foremost arts education institutions in the United States. The Meadows School offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in advertising, art, art history, arts management and arts entrepreneurship, corporate communication and public affairs, creative computation, dance, film and media arts, journalism, music and theatre. The goal of the Meadows School of the Arts, as a comprehensive educational institution, is to prepare students to meet the demands of professional careers. The Meadows School is a leader in developing innovative outreach and community engagement programs, challenging its students to make a difference locally and globally by developing connections between art, entrepreneurship and change. The Meadows School of the Arts is also a convener for the arts in North Texas, serving as a catalyst for new collaborations and providing critical industry research. For more information, visit

About SDA Bocconi, Milan

Founded in 1902, SDA Bocconi is part of Università Bocconi, the first Italian university to grant a degree in economics. It has played a leading role over the last century in the social and economic modernization of Italy. SDA Bocconi has remained true to its founding principles: it is a research institution with democratic values and is open to the world, as well as being financially and politically independent. SDA Bocconi is strongly engaged in management programs leveraging on Italian excellence (i.e.: arts, fine food, fashion and design). Visit

Universidad de los Andes School of Management (UASM)

The Universidad de los Andes at Bogotá, which ranked 2nd in Latin America in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings for 2013-2014, has developed its own educational project in order to help students achieve the highest standards in their disciplines and to contribute to cultural and economic development of the country. The institutional mission of the School of Management of Universidad de los Andes (UASM) is to educate and train leaders through the appropriation and generation of knowledge for the innovative and sustainable development of organizations. UASM holds the three most important international accreditations: AACSB, EQUIS and AMBA. For more information, visit

Learn More

To register or to obtain further information, please log onto To learn more about the experiences of the first MMIAM graduating class, click here.

Contacts and Information:

Julie Lajoye
Media Relations Officer, HEC Montréal
514 340-7320


Victoria Winkelman
Director of Communications, SMU Meadows School of the Arts