Entrepreneurial Learning in Arts Entrepreneurship Education

A Conceptual Framework


  • Ben Toscher Norwegian University of Science and Technology


Increasingly, higher education has called upon arts entrepreneurship to prepare artists for sustainable careers, and to provide a platform for research on artist professional development. In response, teaching in entrepreneurship and arts entrepreneurship education has grown significantly over the past few decades (Fayolle et al., 2016), with an estimated 168 institutions with 372 offerings arts entrepreneurship courses in the US alone (Essig & Guevara, 2016). This is especially true in the field of music, where arts entrepreneurship has been readily embraced due to the entrepreneurial nature of sustaining a livelihood as a musician (Bennett, 2016; Breivik et al., 2015). The amount of research focusing on the teaching of arts entrepreneurship has followed closely behind the growth in arts entrepreneurship education – but what about research on learning arts entrepreneurship? How do arts students actually learn to be entrepreneurial? While research in arts entrepreneurship has been performed to examine curricular efforts (e.g., Beckman, 2005), the similarities and synergies of entrepreneurs and artists (e.g., Gangi, 2015), and arts entrepreneurship education as a comprehensive phenomenon of interest and study (Chang & Wyszomirski, 2015), no work has been performed to connect the field ́s body of knowledge to extant theoretical work directly related to experiential and entrepreneurial learning (Politis, 2005). Given that most arts entrepreneurship curricula include some form of experiential learning (Essig & Guevara, 2016), I propose a framework to advance the field ́s investigation of entrepreneurial learning in the arts entrepreneurship classroom. Since understanding arts entrepreneurship is context-specific (Beckman & Essig, 2012), in this article I use the specific case of music performance education in higher music education (HME) to connect empirical and theoretical literature on arts entrepreneurship education, entrepreneurial learning, entrepreneurial competencies (Bacigalupo et al., 2016), careers in music, and social cognitive career theory (Lent et al., 2002) Synthesizing these streams of literature, I propose a conceptual framework for integrating context-specific entrepreneurial learning activities within arts entrepreneurship education. The framework developed recognizes and address the importance of context, personal agency, student-centered learning, explorative behavior and definitions in arts entrepreneurship educational activities. The framework also provides the means to analyze both mini-cases and examples of entrepreneurial learning activities which may develop entrepreneurial competencies. The article concludes with promising areas and questions for future research and as well as implications for educators. 

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How to Cite

Toscher, B. (2019). Entrepreneurial Learning in Arts Entrepreneurship Education: A Conceptual Framework. Artivate: A Journal of Entrepreneurship in the Arts, 8(1), 3–22. Retrieved from https://artivate.org/index.php/artivate/article/view/85