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Hope for the Cultural Sector Comes from Outside of the Box and Leadership Development

Nana Salin, Stefan Björkman, Petteri Karttunen, 04.06.2024

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Rapid changes in the world are urging everyone to step out of their comfort zones and invest in new skills. For cultural organizations, strengthening management skills is crucial to ensure their impact and financial sustainability.

The cultural sector faces the same challenges as others: digitalization, changing customer expectations, and resource scarcity. While the cultural sector boasts significant substance expertise, areas such as finance and leadership remain relatively foreign. In these areas, cultural operators often find themselves outside their comfort zone. However, arts and culture organizations need leadership skills as strong as any leading consumer brand. In cultural management, we should also better understand the competitive advantage that can be gained by combining competencies from different sectors.

As the world gets smaller, we need increasingly dialogical and outward-looking approaches to one another. The cultural field can greatly contribute to diversifying dialogue, but to do so successfully, we need to expand the strategic competencies, cross-sectoral networks, and commercial toolkits of these organizations. Actors in the arts and culture sector need to demonstrate their purpose through shared meanings. There needs to be a shift from artistic and professional silos towards international, multidisciplinary networks.

By broadening your understanding of other sectors and expanding your commercial skills, you can better demonstrate your strengths and increase your relevance to all. Therefore, we want to encourage stronger leadership in the cultural sector, the growth of new networks, and the international impact of the sector. Now is the time to nurture optimism and bold visions to ensure that the positive effects of culture radiate for the common good of all.

This will require all of us to have the will and time to invest in developing new skills and fostering mutual appreciation.

Nana Salin
M.A., Director, Alternative Funding, Aalto EE

Stefan Björkman
CEO, Föreningen Konstsamfundet

Petteri Karttunen
Chairman of the Board, Saastamoinen Foundation

Business of Culture, Aalto EE's unique leadership development initiative is reshaping how cultural leaders in the Nordic and Baltic regions approach their mission. Integrating the authenticity of cultural work with the strategic acumen of business, the program is a beacon of progressive change, enhancing leadership skills, fostering vital networks, and stimulating collaborative growth across the cultural landscape. Arts and culture professionals are supported by the AKO Foundation, the Saastamoinen Foundation, and the association Föreningen Konstsamfundet.

Business of Culture​​​​​

Read more: The Business of Culture Program Strongly Impacts the Leadership and Networks of the Cultural Sector

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