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Abstract

What has business to do with art? Should artists understand business? This research is concerned with the world of the artist who must operate in a business world. In the words of the late singer, Luciano Pavarotti (2003), artists must „be heard and be seen‟ to be successful. Commercial entities expose their products and services to clients to survive, and for the artist, this is no different. The paper examines if there is a need to ensure that our artistic graduates are „market ready‟, and specifically examines this concept in the context of an Irish Institute of Technology (IT). Artists generally do not view the world in terms of business and commerce, only as a creative space, so investigation is warranted if there is a need for a special purpose award that would allow already qualified or working artists who have missed out on business education to take business modules at any stage in their careers. A post-positivistic qualitative method was applied to gather the empirical data. This consisted of eleven face to face interviews using a semi-structured interview guide, and one additional focus group. The findings of this study reveal that a disconnection exists between the artistic world and the business one. Artists do indeed require business education for their future careers, and it will be necessary to ensure inclusion of business modules at undergraduate level in the future. The findings of this study recommend that new entrant undergraduate performing and visual art students should be able to take business modules throughout their studies, starting initially by facilitating these subjects as electives, and after an initial review of one year, including businesses modules as compulsory subjects. For presently working musicians, this study advocates the development of a Special Purpose Award with business subjects for all artists who are working in this field. These can include artists who have no previous Higher Education qualifications, but this specific cohort would need to take an initial bridging course to ease their return to education. Finally, working and surviving as an artist can be difficult, therefore enabling a route to education through any means for the artist could be a vital bridge to eliminate the disconnect between art and business. This will in the future ensure that artists can be better informed, and be able to differentiate and market themselves in a competitive commercial world.

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