Embracing the artist mind-set to create a new economic mind-set

A UK University working with a Canadian Leadership centre employs dramatic arts as a way of developing practical leadership and management expertise. By tapping into the artist’s mind-set and specifically through the kinaesthetic approach, where you learn not through watching but doing, students and participants harness their creative capabilities in order to recreate their economic mind-set. 

The Visiting Faculty of the University of Kingston (UK) and Banff Centre for Leadership (Canada) sees the dramatic arts as a way of developing practical leadership and management expertise. We build up soft skills and then transfer them to business, science and the military. We are increasingly interested in understanding the conceptual leadership and managerial frameworks that artists use and how they differ from – or are similar to – those used by practitioners in these areas. Chief among these frameworks is the idea of kinaesthetic understanding, where you learn not through watching but doing.

“The artist’s mind-set” of metaphor and artistic processes is as robust, useful and consistent as traditional forms of understanding such as lectures. We also recognise that business needs to be recreated in order to help change the economic mind-set, and because change is an imaginative / creative act, the conceptual frameworks of art can be harnessed to help.

Our course also generates social benefits. We are interested in the mechanics of community and how group size, communication, and the physical environment all interact with, support and improve one another and we use theatre to guide us through this learning curve. We look at how and why some groups need leaders and others don’t; this leads us to issues of power in group projects, and to the interplay of subjectivity and objectivity, of expression and oppression.

We examine how meaning is co‐created between people and how collective understanding, “common knowledge” and explicatory narratives emerge from and/or are created within groups. We ask to what extent leaders are responsible for the meanings that emerge form groups, and how they shape them.

Similarly, our research is carried out through action learning in the form of practical experiment and rehearsal. Faculty has some input on postgraduate courses specifically connected with the creative economy at both the University of Kingston and the University of Copenhagen. We are forever developing relationships with other faculties to develop experimental projects which catalyse innovative thinking. We believe that, together, these practises can help revolutionise management education in making leaders globally responsible.

Filed in: Accompanying leaders in their transformation, Transformative Learning
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