The Business of Art
If creativity is what allows great businesses to thrive, mixing art and business makes perfect sense. Audencia Nantes School of Management and the École du Louvre in Paris have formed a three-year partnership agreement based on this premise. It’s a relationship that is designed to help Audencia’s business students think more laterally and to help art history and museum studies students from École du Louvre to develop cultural management and arts administration expertise.
The École du Louvre is the oldest art school in France. It’s based within the museum of the same name, one of the most famous and prestigious art museums in the world. The Louvre Museum is renowned for its brilliant combination of classical and modern architecture, and the École du Louvre is similarly progressive in its outlook. Yet French cultural institutions have had to adapt their business models to the ongoing global financial crisis. By partnering with Audencia, the École du Louvre is making an effort to ensure that its students are prepared to cope with the current economic environment.
“Grants are decreasing for a lot of cultural institutions, especially museums,” says Laurent Noël, an assistant professor and head of the major in "Cultural institutions and multimedia industries management" at Audencia. “So if you lead a department in a museum you need to think about funding, especially money from private donors or companies. It’s very important to have a good knowledge of management.”
A Meeting of Expertise and Ethos
Audencia is the leading French business school in the field of cultural management. It is a business school committed to helping students develop an open mind and a well-rounded cultural understanding. All students are required to take courses in subjects such as philosophy, art history, or cultural studies. Audencia also has a core institutional commitment to global responsibility and entrepreneurship. So, in terms of both expertise and ethos, “it’s a good idea to associate the two names. It makes sense for students who’d like to apply for the program,” says Noël.
This three-year cooperation will begin with an innovative summer school exchange program. group of Audencia business students will attend the École du Louvre to learn about art history and museum studies. At the same time, students from the École du Louvre attend business classes at Audencia. “But it’s only a first step,” says Noël. “We would like to have a very close partnership where students from École du Louvre will stay two years at Audencia and vice versa.” The plan is to offer a joint degree in Art and Management, possibly within three years.
Audencia has a strong relationship with US universities that are also well reputed in arts administration, such as the Metropolitan College at Boston University (BU) or the University of Cincinnati. In fact, Audencia already runs a special program with BU through which Audencia students can study in Boston for one semester and earn an international graduate certificate in arts management. The new summer program with École du Louvre will add yet another building block to the deep and strategic partnership developing between Audencia and BU.
The involvement of an American university in the Audencia-École du Louvre program gives it an international dimension, as the American partner will not only bring students and staff to Nantes and Paris but also contribute to the course curriculum.
Audencia is keen to broaden its students’ horizons, and hopes that the program can grow to include a US-based component in the future, in order to provide similar benefits for the European students. And in addition to the opportunity to take advantage of Audencia’s outstanding cultural management courses and professors, access to classes held in the Louvre, an iconic Parisian landmark, is an added bonus for US students who want to include a European element in their studies.
The program is already proving very popular with Audencia’s business school students: “They are very enthusiastic about this idea, because in the arts management program at Audencia, students realise that they have a lack of knowledge in art history or in art understanding in general,” says Noël. “So they see this summer school at École du Louvre as very suitable regarding their professional goals.”
Philippe Durey, director of the École du Louvre agrees: "We need the art historians to be aware of the realities of management and economic imperatives. Graduates who complete this course will have a considerable advantage in getting a job or progressing in their career.”
The partnership is itself a creative response to the changing institutional environment in the field of art and culture – in particular, the growing importance of management skills and business insights. By coming together, Audencia Nantes School of Management, École du Louvre, and their American university partner can deliver a far superior program to students, without compromising budgets or quality. It’s an example the program hopes will spread: “The field of art and culture is changing,” says Noël, and “cultural professionals and managers must learn to collaborate."