MA Arts Management, Policy and Practice

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Business Strategies for Arts, Culture and Creative Industries

Course unit fact file
Unit code SALC60072
Credit rating 30
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


This unit provides a comprehensive introduction to key processes, factors, tools and approaches involved in strategic and operational management of arts, cultural and creative industries organisations. Its content blends professional insight, case studies and grey material with theoretical approaches, to be delivered via blended learning through lectures, seminars, workshops and site visits. During the course, students will learn how to develop their business strategy portfolios including a pitch presentation, case study analysis, funding proposal, and business plan.




  • Introduce a range of relevant functions which support marketing, finance, business development, governance, resource development and fundraising in arts, heritage and cultural organisations.
  • Provide specialist advice and insight from cultural professionals on models and approaches to arts management, project management, and business development.
  • Explore the political, social and economic context and current environment for creative and cultural businesses and organisations.



Week 1 - Introduction - the Business of Creative and Cultural Industries

Week 2 - Project planning and management

Week 3 - Understanding risk and internal/external environments

Week 4 - Project Pitch

Week 5 - Finance I: Fundraising, financing and writing funding applications

Week 6 - Finance II: Setting up a budget and managing it

Week 7 - Strategic marketing, engagement and programming

Week 8 - Leadership and Governance

Week 9 - Diversity and the Arts

Week 10 - Finance, Risk and Business Planning and HR operations

Week 11 - Evaluating and Demonstrating Project Outcomes and Developing you Business Planning

Week 12 - Business Planning Surgeries

Teaching and learning methods

Weekly seminars, workshops and where possible site visits. There will also be directed reading and/or fieldwork tasks to develop your assessed work from week to week. Sessions will benefit from a range of expert practitioners who have been invited as guest speakers, and local organisations who are treated as case studies. Indicative reading is provided through the handbook with links to further resources which will also be provided via Blackboard. 

Knowledge and understanding

  • Develop a critical understanding of theoretical and practical tools and relevant skills, practices and issues relevant to business development, planning, fundraising and project management in the arts, culture and heritage sectors
  • Demonstrate relevant knowledge of the context for the management and strategic development of arts and cultural organisations and be able to apply and adapt this knowledge in professional practice

Intellectual skills

  • Undertake self-directed learning and skills acquisition; conduct independent, critical fieldwork and develop appropriate methodological and analytical skills
  • Apply skills and ideas learned in one institutional context to another, while remaining aware of the complexity of the issues
  • Research, design and develop appropriate business strategies and planning processes for arts and cultural management functions (e.g.  marketing, communications, branding, budgeting, business planning, fund-raising, human resources and performance management)

Practical skills

  • Communicate complex research findings through clear written and verbal articulation, supported by appropriate technological tools
  • Retrieve, select and critically evaluate information from a variety of sources, including libraries, archives and the internet

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Communicate information and ideas effectively in a professional, as well as an academic environment.
  • Critically evaluate personal performance through monitoring and analytical reflection.
  • Demonstrate independent learning ability suitable for continuing study and professional development.

Employability skills

Students on this course will learn about and apply project management, resource development and business planning tools and strategies relevant to the arts, culture and heritage sectors. They will learn how to critical analyse the context, markets risk and quality controls for projects and organisations in these sectors, and will devise funding applications and business strategies which demonstrate their understanding and are ready to apply in real-world arts, heritage and museum management.

Assessment methods

Assessment TaskFormative or SummativeWeighting within unitLength
Pitch presentation for funding applicationFormative 3-5 minutes presentation of project plan
Funding application, including project/programme aims and objectives, audience/market analysis, business case, budget, schedule, evaluation frameworkSummative50%1,500 words, plus appendices
Business plan document, including Mission, Vision, Fundraising plan, audience development plan, governance model, organisations structure and evaluation frameworkSummative50%3,000 words, plus appendices

Feedback methods

Feedback method

Formative or Summative

Verbal feedback from lecturing staff and peers on pitch presentation of project idea


Written feedback on funding application proposal 


Written feedback on funding application and business planning assessments



Recommended reading

Book, L. and Phillips, D.P. eds. (2013) Creativity and Entrepeneurship: Chaning Currents in Education and Public Life, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing Limited.

Byrnes, W (2009) ‘Chapter 6: Organizing and Organizational Design’ in Management and the Arts, Focal Press. 

Cray, D. and L. Inglis, 2011. ‘Strategic Decision Making in Arts Organizations’ , The Journal of Arts Management, Law, and Society, 41 (2): 84-102,

Hagoort, G., 2005. Art Management: Entrepreneurial Style. Utrecht : Eburon.

Daigle, P. and L. Rouleau, 2010. ‘Strategic Plans in Arts Organizations: A Tool of Compromise between Artistic and Managerial Values’ , International Journal of Arts Management, 12 (3): 13-30,

Mullins, J. W. 2006. The New Business Road Test. What entrepreneurs and executives should do before writing a business plan. 2nd edition. London: Prentice Hall.

McNicholas, B. 2004. “Arts, Culture and Business: A Relationship Transformation, a Nascent Field.” International Journal of Arts Management Vol 7 No 1.

Munoz-Seca, B. and Riverola, J. 2010. When Business Meets Culture. Ideas and Experience for Mutual Profit. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan.

Varbanova, L. (2013) Strategic Management in the Arts, New York & London: Routledge.


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Fieldwork 14
Seminars 36
Independent study hours
Independent study 238

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Abigail Gilmore Unit coordinator

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