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Arts Administration: Introduction

Welcome to the Arts Administration research guide

You can use this guide as a starting point for your research in the field of arts administration. Use the tabs above to navigate through the different types of resources.

This guide contains information about:

Getting started with your research

Understanding how to effectively use research tools not only helps you back up an opinion or argument about a topic, but it also allows you find valuable information to use when making decisions in a professional context.

The field of arts administration (or arts management) is largely practice-based and has only been around since the 1960s. When conducting research, you’ll want to know how to search more current sources, such as newspapers, in addition to academic sources.

Source types

When you’re researching a topic, for example labor disputes in the symphony orchestra, there are a few different source types you should consider. Scholarly journal articles and books/ebooks will provide academic-based information about the larger issue of labor disputes in the arts. Newspaper articles will provide a more time- and location-specific context about a labor dispute happening in a certain city or organization. It's particularly useful to see how major newspapers cover issues and events that happen in their own cities.

Here are 3 different source types, using the example of labor disputes in the symphony orchestra:

     from a newspaper -

  • Article title: “Musicians call offer 'regressive' - Philadelphia Orchestra opens labor negotiations.”
  • Newspaper: Philadelphia Inquirer
  • Database: NewsBank

      from a peer-reviewed academic journal -

  • Article title: “Some Problems of Collective Bargaining in Symphony Orchestras.”
  • Journal: Labor Law Journal
  • Database: Business Source Complete

     from an ebook -

  • Book title: The Encyclopedia of Strikes in American History
  • Dacus Library catalog

Notice that the newspaper article provides detailed information about a specific labor dispute happening at the Philadelphia Orchestra, reported by a newspaper located in that city. The peer-reviewed journal article looks at the bigger picture of labor issues in symphony orchestras, in general. And the ebook pulls the lens out even more to look at labor disputes across industries. 

Example Research Topics
  • Gender parity in the classical music world (specifically Baltimore and Atlanta)
  • The Metropolitan Opera labor negotiations with its unions in light of COVID
  • The Detroit Institute of Arts mural project, which some thought sent an unintended message of pro-police support
  • Ireland's universal basic income program for artists
  • A female carpenter at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis resigned in 2018, citing a sexist working environment
  • Williamstown Theatre Festival crew walks off the job
  • The closing of the Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet company in New York

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