Working Within and With the Arts and Administration Program at the University Of Oregon
Over its 15 years of publication CultureWork has been a significant part of the life of the Arts & Administration Program (AAD) at the University of Oregon (http://aad.uoregon.edu/). CultureWork’s linking voice has connected practitioners in the field to the research and focus of AAD to “educate cultural sector leaders and participants to make a difference in communities…..to positively affect not just their own future, but also the people, communities, and environments around them” (AAD Program site, http://aad.uoregon.edu/programs/, para. 1)
Originally stemming from the Institute for Community Arts Studies (ICAS), CultureWork became part of the reinvention of ICAS into the Center for Community Arts & Cultural Policy (CCACP, http://ccacp.uoregon.edu/) in 2004. In tandem with CCACP’s role as the research and granting arm of the Arts & Administration Program, CultureWork continues to build upon goals and outcomes of AAD in direct ways. One important example is working directly with recent AAD graduate students in publishing their research and practical work to the wider arts management audience domestically and internationally, such as Daniel Linver’s article on crowdsourcing and relationship building or Betsy Bostwick’s call for greening public art programs.
As editors we see one of our main roles as facilitators of the publication’s proactive voice for AAD in providing timely and work-place oriented pieces, such as:
We have been fortunate in our editorship of CultureWork to feature professionals and academics such as Grady Hillman (Director of the Center for Community Arts at Texas State University-San Marcos), Barbara Schaffer Bacon and Pam Korza (Animating Democracy/Americans for the Arts), Helen De Michiel (National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture), Victoria J. Saunders (San Diego—Emerging Leaders of Arts and Culture), John Frohnmayer (former director, National Endowment for the Arts), and Gentle Lady, a Second Life community organizer for the Heron Sanctuary, a supportive community for disabled people.
2) Offering a wide range of focused topics.
Since our time as editors began in 2005, we have been honored to publish advisories on cultural policy theory and implementation; making museum experiences more interactive through interpretive notions of queer theory and audience engagement; calls for action in the field from leading professionals; and various case studies of theory put to practice in diverse and wide ranging arts management fields.
3) Providing current and relevant themes guided by the goals, concepts, organizations, and individuals within the UO’s Arts and Administration program.
Some examples include: cultural tourism, arts & healthcare, new media in arts management, arts and economics studies, transmedia pedagogy, folklore, participatory culture, sustainability, international engagement, and cultural identity and change.
For the future of CultureWork, we will be purposeful in creating an annual special issue featuring alumni of the UO Arts & Administration (formerly Art Education) Program.
During our appointment as editors, various challenges of interest have presented themselves as we have collaborated with and mentored a diverse selection of authors as well as administered one of the first online journals at the University Of Oregon. One major challenge has involved both philosophical and administrative components: finding a balance between presenting a “broadside” environment “treating of current events in an informative, celebratory, or satiric manner” (http://culturework.uoregon.edu/so-whats-a-broadside/) along with a research and scholarly forum for serious arts management professionals. As facilitators of this environment, we see that it is essential to uphold an open and free flowing platform for authors of different backgrounds and approaches.
Another more purely administrative challenge is working within the online world of communication. As a fully online publication we have had to think about ways in which not only to stay current with our content but also our technological based presentations. This has involved originally working with html-based pages and migrating to a WordPress based coding application. Of interest is how this connects with the philosophical challenge of balancing a “broadside” and academic approach. Does the technology presentation become an important component of the journal’s content platform? How does one keep a strong individual author voice along with a strong open and publicly accessible discussion forum? For this challenge we have found that it is important to format the journal in a manner that upholds its scholarly roots, but at the same time utilizes up-to-date technologies (and indeed the most up-to-date ideals) found on the web to create a multimodal experience for readers.
To date have we fully addressed these challenges? Not as far as we would have liked, for a sub-challenge here is just that simple balance of being two editors who work with authors, manage a web site, administrate contact lists, and continue to network on a regular basis. But this only emphasizes the need to keep one’s mind open to as many ideas as possible but also be sure to keep all those ideas organized and framed within realistic boundaries.
Thoughts for the Future
As CultureWork continues to move forward in the 21st century it will foster a continual connection between fieldwork practitioners, researchers, and engaged learners in arts and cultural management. CultureWork will also become an ever more integral part of the goals of the CCACP and Arts & Administration Programs at the University of Oregon. We will continue to build upon and remix online resources and scholarly publication ideals. But in many ways the most important component, which has always been a part of the publication and will continue to be so, is CultureWork’s advocating voice for the praxis of managers, administrators, educators, and policy makers in cultural and arts venues, organizations, and leadership roles. CultureWork will continue to offer a source for emerging and professional leaders in the arts to explore, learn, question, advise, and critically consider daily art and cultural management practices from perspectives that are thoughtful, critical, hands-on, experiential, pragmatic, or technical, allowing us to positively influence the communities we serve.
-Julie and Robert Voelker-Morris, April 5, 2012