This past weekend I was proud to host the Society for Arts Entrepreneurship Education here at The University of Colorado-Boulder. SAEE is the first professional organization dedicated to arts entrepreneurship, bringing together scholars and practitioners from around the world to share research, best practices, and networking. This year was our biggest conference yet, with over 90 attendees from throughout the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Norway, and Australia.
This is an interesting time for the field of arts entrepreneurship in higher ed. In the early years (2000-2010 or so) there were few programs, and pretty much everybody in the field knew each other and knew what everyone was up to. In the last 8 years, however, the field has exploded: there are now over 100 arts entrepreneurship programs worldwide. Yet with all this growth, many of the same challenges that pioneers in the field faced 10 and 15 years ago remain: push-back from resistant faculty, lack of pedagogical training and resources, and disagreement (sometimes vigorous disagreement) about what, exactly, entrepreneurship is -- and what role it should play within higher ed generally and the conservatory in particular.
SAEE was created to address this need, as well as one more: to act as a community of support for educators and researchers. For after the sessions on research and pedagogy are through for the day, there is still much commiserating and mutual support going on in the hotel bar! And, as anyone who has gone to many conferences will tell you, it's these conversations that are sometimes the best parts of attending. These are the closest of colleagues, the folks who understand the challenges and the victories of this field better than anyone else. It's an incredible joy to be able to share in that every year, and it was an incredible honor this time around to be able to host so many friends here in Boulder.