The MA in Cultural Leadership is structured over eight intensive modules that can be completed within one year or two years. The course also requires an academic dissertation or professional thesis project and two study trips. The modular structure means that you can study while you work, or supplement your study with extended experiences.
Critical perspectives in the history of art and culture
This core module introduces students to critical theories in the history of art and culture, including a range of academic and theoretical perspectives that have shaped our understanding of the creative and cultural sectors. It will consider how the arts, creative and cultural sectors have evolved and changed in the late 20th and 21st centuries, looking at key trends today that will shape the future.
Art business and cultural management
Within this core module, students explore both classical theories of management and business and the specifics of their application to the world of arts and cultural sectors. The module will build on established management and business theories familiar in established business school curricula, with important adaptations relevant for the business, management and leadership of the arts.
Collecting and collections management
This module introduces students to the fascinating world of collecting, collections building and management. This is relevant both for the public sector (museums) and the private sector (galleries, dealers and client base of private collectors). Students will be encouraged to see the value in individual objects as well as in combination, exploring how something can be “greater than the sum of its parts”. Following on from the Critical perspectives and Art business modules, students will be encouraged to consider both the finance and economics of collecting, and the historic and social significance of collections.
Cultural leadership trajectory
Throughout the year
Leadership skills are critical in sustaining a strategic advantage. Understanding how to drive change within a corporate environment or social enterprise is vital in providing a business climate that will enable companies to meet the challenges of the future. Effective leadership skills, competencies and capabilities have some universal qualities across all sectors of human endeavour, but successful leadership must also be adapted to specific contexts. Core leadership skills will be introduced and developed in participants, and the unique qualities needed for leadership in the arts, cultural sectors and organisations founded on creativity will be explored in depth. The personal leadership unit, as well as keynote lectures from inspirational leaders throughout the year, will complement class-based learning, individual and group work throughout the year.
This core module will consider the legal frameworks necessary for dealing with artworks and goods that have important cultural and heritage value but are also tradeable. A special challenge for the law related to art and cultural objects is the fact that the art trade (legal as well as illicit) is a truly international market. Since artworks are relatively easy to take across borders, objects can show up all over the globe. International and multicultural perspectives, as well as significant local knowledge, are critical.
The leadership development trajectory is unique to the Executive MA. It is designed to tailor a participant’s individual requirements to meet individual leadership challenges and goals, within their own cultural environment and organisation as well as internationally. Professional one-to-one coaching helps to boost cultural leadership in a dynamic setting and to acknowledge current behavioural patterns, as well as develop leadership skills that improve performance. Building upon the foundations of leadership theory and developing an interdisciplinary approach across the programme modules helps to formulate leadership skills central to business culture, differing across countries. Mixed-group work in the classroom, guest lectures from global leaders and professional one-on-one coaching form the integral blocks of this module.
Technology and innovation
This module will provide an exciting exploration and analysis of recent developments and current trends in the arts, creative and cultural sectors and the transformative opportunities, as well as risks, associated with new technologies and recent innovations. Because cultural firms operate within a rapidly changing, highly uncertain and dynamic environment, perspectives on who are the most innovative individuals and organisational players equip students with important know-how, enabling success across industries and organisations.
Throughout the year, FRIEZE, TEFAF, BRAFA, Venice Biennale, FIAC, ArtBasel
Participation in a minimum of two study field trips is required as part of this experience-orientated programme. Visits provide immersive and interactive educational weeks, in which students explore and reflect on the core themes and teachings across all the other modules. A specific event in the cultural world, for example an art fair, is visited, explored and analysed, providing students with a real-life case study linked directly with the programme curriculum, aims and objectives. Study trips provide active and experiential learning to reinforce classroom teaching. They provide an opportunity to explore ideas and knowledge and test theories introduced in the classroom as subjects are addressed from multiple perspectives.
An essential part of an MA-level academic programme is learning how to conduct and interpret leading research and analysis. The ability to conduct high-quality analytical research for commercial purposes is also at the heart of many successful business, although often underestimated. For knowledge-based organisations and in today’s information economy, research is central to competitive advantage and long-term success. This unit will introduce students to a range of important quantitative and qualitative research methods – highlighting both strengths and limitations and how they can be applied in practice to support strategic decision-making and operational efficiency.
Galleries and exhibitions
This module analyses how the culture of exhibition and display has changed over time, how exhibitions have helped to shape and define the creative sphere, and the way we look at and understand arts and cultural artefacts. Although location and display have affected the relationship between art and its public throughout history, planned temporary exhibitions –including public and private displays and staged encounters – are a relatively recent phenomenon emerging alongside the modern museum. From the 17th century onwards, the Royal Academy has played a central role in this history, including the earliest artist-led exhibitions and the staging of an annual temporary display of contemporary art, which has survived continuously for nearly 250 years. Known today as the Summer Exhibition, it provides a core case study that students will explore and experience as part of this module.
Internship project and/or academic dissertation
Participants on the programme are encouraged to combine their dissertation with a professional internship, utilising either their own contacts or the extensive professional networks of both the Royal Academy of Arts and Maastricht University. They may also choose to write a purely academic thesis based on archival, secondary or primary research, if preferred. The thesis is on a topic of the student’s choice, passing through a rigorous topic-development process alongside academic faculty with practitioner advice and finally a dedicated supervisor. The final topic will be agreed upon by the programme directors, aiming to make an exciting and rigorous contribution to the existing body of knowledge.