Survey of Arts Management

Course blog for American University PERF-570, Fall 2014

Is the Cultural Sector Ready to Move Beyond Data for Data’s Sake?

This article addresses Big Data and what we really can or should do in this era where there is so much data and yet in the cultural sector we still don’t have the data we need, we don’t know what to do with the data we have, and sometimes forget to use such findings to guide our organizational decisions.

With the goal to “frame and inventory the cultural data landscape”, Cultural Data Project has identified a number of factors preventing the cultural sector from gaining all the benefits of having an phenomenal array of data readily available. The ultimate aim here is to promote conversations around data use among the artistic and administrative staff of organizations and realize the implications for future decision making. How many feel overwhelmed as arts managers by the data available and research still needed in the field? I do believe in this age of Big Data it is an imperative conversation to have in the cultural sector. And furthermore aim to understand, why is there such a disconnect between the data available and research available?


One comment on “Is the Cultural Sector Ready to Move Beyond Data for Data’s Sake?

  1. emkais
    November 20, 2014

    Like a moth to flame I find the data discussion fascinating and terrifying. I recently read a study from 2011 about big data and the sectors that stood to gain the most from the rapid growth of data. In congruence with the issues discussed here the Arts and Entertainment sector was among the bottom of the industries standing to benefit. Some of the factors the study pointed to for the low-gain sectors was legacy business structure, the lack of data-driven mindset, IT infrastructure, ease of data capture and availability. Because diversity is uniquely inherent within the creative sector it’s easy to see how it’s challenging to enforce data standards in alignment with a collective endgame.

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