Course 2019-2020 a.y.


Department of Social and Political Sciences

Course taught in English
Go to class group/s: 31
ACME (10 credits - II sem. - OBS  |  SECS-P/07)
Course Director:

Classes: 31 (II sem.)

Class-group lessons delivered  on campus

Suggested background knowledge

This workshop is primarily addressed to ACME students who wants to make their career in the performing arts and entertainment fields. International students attending the course are welcomed but they should evidence strong interest and commitment (as professional or non professional artists or as spectators) in the performing art field.

Mission & Content Summary


The cultural field and the performing arts’ organizations as part of it, are facing a deep transformation. On one side there are traditional institutions that rethink their approach to the market, developing new strategies, defining new business models, reviewing their relationship with the audience and reconsidering their role in social, economic and cultural system. On the other side new initiatives of cultural entrepreneurship are raising. These projects test innovative solutions in the processes of artistic production, in the business modelling, in the engagement of the audience, in the relationship with the local communities and territories, in the hybridization of the formats, in the design of governance assets and in the choice of the professional figures that lead them. The mission of the workshop is to prepare students to be entrepreneurs or managers in the performing arts sector, analyzing this complex scenario and providing insights about the challenges of the sector.


The course is divided in three parts:

  1. The first one aims to develop students’ skill and knowledge about style, taste, evolution and revolution of the performing arts.
  2. The second one aims to analyze advanced topics concerning the performing arts management and the transformation of the field.
  3. The third one is an empirical part and it aims to analyze the main changes in terms of policies, management and new trends, of the performing art scene in Milan. The 3 modules are:

Curating the Performing Arts: 

  • Introduction to the field of contemporary performing arts.
  • The role of the performing art curator.
  • The interplay between managerial and curatorial/artistic work.

Innovation and cultural entrepreneurship in the performing arts’ organizations:

  • Innovation in the performing arts’ management.
  • Skills, competences and professional figures in performing arts’ organizations.
  • European public policies for the performing arts.

Fieldwork project:

  • Analysis of the performing art scene in Milan.
  • Interviews and lectures with artists, policy makers and practitioners.
  • Guided tours in the major institutions and organizations.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO)


At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Have a conscious critical approach to the performing arts productions.
  • Recognize the complexity and the specificity of a cultural production process.
  • Distinguish roles and responsibilities between managerial and artistic staff.
  • Be aware about the challenges, new trends and main phenomena that concern the sector.
  • Have a deep and clear knowledge of the functioning within an artistic organization.
  • Describe the most important interventions carried out by European Commission to support the sector.
  • Experience the variety of the performing art system.
  • Acquire a method of analysis of a sector through an empirical approach.


At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Appreciate the artistic value of a live performance (theatre, dance, opera, ballet, etc…).
  • Design the production process of a new performance/event/cultural project.
  • Be able to work in cooperation with the artistic side of a performing arts organizations.
  • Interpret the most relevant and innovative phenomena of the sector.
  • Identify a personal professional interest within the sector.
  • Have an international approach to the sector.
  • Access the performing art scene and its community.
  • Create a personal network of relationships with the main players of the sector.

Teaching methods

  • Face-to-face lectures
  • Guest speaker's talks (in class or in distance)
  • Company visits
  • Case studies /Incidents (traditional, online)
  • Individual assignments
  • Group assignments


The workshop has an applied approach: students are given the opportunity to meet practitioners, artists, policy makers and they have guided tours in the major performing arts agencies and organizations. Students are ask to submit:

  • An individual assignment to analyze the artistic identity of some performing arts organizations and their positioning in the cultural panorama.
  • A field group project to develop an entrepreneurial cultural project. The goal of this part is to learn how to transform an idea into a sustainable project: from the definition of the concept to the design of the business model.

Assessment methods

  Continuous assessment Partial exams General exam
  • Written individual exam (traditional/online)
  • Individual assignment (report, exercise, presentation, project work etc.)
  • Group assignment (report, exercise, presentation, project work etc.)
  • Active class participation (virtual, attendance)


With the purpose of measuring the acquisition of the above-mentioned learning outcomes, the students’ assessment is based on the following main components:

  1. Individual assignment (10% of the final grade), consisting of a short paper aimed to assess students’ ability to develop a personal research on relevant topics concerning the sector and compliant with their professional interests.
  2. Group assignment (20% of the final grade), consisting of a business plan for the development of a project. The assignment aimed to assess students’ ability to develop a new entrepreneurial cultural project from the concept to the business model.
  3. Written exam (60% of the final grade), consisting of open-ended questions aimed to assess students' understanding of the contents. Students can take a partial written exam and complete the written exam at the end of the course. In this case the weight is: 30% for the mid-term exam and 30% for the end of term exam. Alternatively, students can take a final written exam that accounts for 60% of the final grade.
  4. In-class participation (10% of the final grade) aimed to test the students’ ability to interact in a constructive way and to think critically.


Students’ assessment is based only on one final written exam (100% of the final grade). No other components are evaluated.

Teaching materials


Course materials provided by professors.


  • HOMANS J., Apollo's Angels: A history of ballet, Random House, New York, 2010.
  • STEIN T., BATHURST R.J., Performing Arts Management: A Handbook of Professional.
  • Practices, Allworth Press, 2008.
Last change 09/06/2019 17:06