The 2020 Global Conversations "Decolonising cultural management education" was done in partnership with the Association of Arts Administration Educators (AAAE). It was held on 4 November during the 2020 ENCATC Digital Congress on Cultural Management and Policy to debate the extent to which we really embrace diversity, how can we engage in two-way flows of ideas and approaches, progressively moving toward an informed and truly global Arts and Cultural Management education.
The crisis created by the Covid-19 pandemic and the inequalities that it exposed has not only reenergised social agendas such as Black Lives Matter but has also provided fresh momentum to similar debates in Higher Education (HE) institutions across the world. Not least, the decolonising movement rising from all corners of global academia has challenged the (cultural and moral) authority of curricula, pedagogical and research practices that are still dominated by Eurocentric discourses, worldviews, knowledge canons and ways of knowing, ‘seeing’ and ‘hearing’; at the expense of ‘othered’, otherwise representative intellectual, cultural and historical frameworks, contributions and traditions.
The field of Arts and Cultural Management (ACM) education is no exception: what are the long-term, if unintended, consequences – aesthetic, cultural, social – of the consumption of mainstream Western cultural management and policy discourses, models and values in our MAs, North, South, East and West? What of the socialisation of students with practices modelled on predominantly Western ways and mental images? Conversely, and as the pandemic drives ACM teaching and learning online, one might argue that (the same Eurocentric) digital and computation cultures further weigh in on and reinforce such biases. Therefore, are we as educators globally contributing to a world of homogenising (and inadequate?) cultural policy, management, and (ultimately) culture?
At a time when the agendas of racial justice, globalisation, digital and the internationalisation of education intersect HE globally, it is imperative that we interrogate our own ACM educational practice in the light of these emerging debates and realities.