“How does it work?” Cultural Networks Management (master thesis 2017)
Graduated (take #2), hope I’m a bit smarter… 🙂
~ Center for Interdisciplinary Studies ~
~ Institut de la Communication ~
UNESCO Chair in Cultural Policy and Management
How does it work?
Cultural Networks Management in the Euro-Mediterranean Region
Goran Tomka, PhD
The focus of this exploratory research is how cultural networks are managed, what characterizes their management style – assumingly less hierarchical and more participatory, what values this style promotes and what is the motivation of managers to take part in it. As a case study, Cultural Innovators Network (CIN) is addressed, as an independent network existing since 2012 and operating in the Mediterranean region.
While researchers have noted that networks have become increasingly present in our societies thanks to process of globalization and technological developments, this work is focusing less on networks as social systems, rather as an organizational model. Furthermore, in literature concerning cultural networks, little has been said about why cultural managers decide to implement non-hierarchical types of management and foster various participatory approaches and values. Therefore, this research takes into account internal group dynamics – among the managers of CIN and between them and the network’s members, in understanding the underlying values, motivations, procedures, interactions, as well as mapping key challenges of running such a network. The idea is to ground management and participatory ideals into a given context and understand better their implementation. In the case of CIN, it was also important to relate its foundation to a specific geopolitical context – the Arab Spring and cultural diplomacy activities of the Goethe-Institut in the Mediterranean region.
Among the main motivations for cultural managers to take part in the network’s operations were noted constructive and proactive approaches, professional growth, networking, and belief in a similar set of values such as cultural diversity, democracy, experiment and innovation. The use of non-hierarchical management and participatory approaches are seen as ways how to achieve these values and ideals. While the management in this setting becomes more decentralized and shared, focusing on tasks rather than hierarchies, wider participation of network members requires clear ground rules, self-motivation, and often more time for decision-making. Lastly, key challenges and observations are provided in order to offer a constructive feedback and discuss more efficient way of managing a cultural network in a more participatory manner.
First, I would like to thank my mentor Goran Tomka for his challenging questions and constructive advice, continuous support and patience. Without him, this work would still be in notes or have never left my mind. From the University of Arts in Belgrade, I would like also to thank two professors: Milena Dragićević Šešić, whose ideas and suggestions helped me in preparing what was to come, and Irena Ristić, who supported me through inspiring literature and her research.
Regarding the research itself, I would like to thank to all CIN members who responded and contributed to this work. Specially I would like to thank to contacts from the Goethe-Institut network for having time (just before the summer break) and being resourceful, Margarita Dahlhaus for providing professional contacts, Benjamin Wunsch-Grafton for his valuable insights and experience (despite all the tunnels!), and members of the Steering Committee of CIN, notably Filomena Maria Fittipaldi and Lazaros Damanis. You made my findings possible.
Lastly, a big thanks goes to Ljiljana Radošević whose advice on theoretical tools got me out of panic (two days before a deadline), and Charlotte E. Whelan, who shared her MA & PhD experiences with me and did an excellent job in proofreading (for any remaining errors, it is the author to blame).