Rhythm of a Year: investigating the sophisticated networks of a small arts organisation (2017)

Harvey, L.

Abstract

An aim of the Agile Opera project was to study the business layer of Chamber Made Opera or how the company actually gets things done, as opposed to business as a commercial way of operating. Little is known of how small to medium sized arts (SMAs) sector companies actually operate. Even though the last 20 years have seen operational aims foisted on the sector, changing foci demanded by governments and funding agencies, and technologies grafted onto companies. But how do they actually operate behind the scenes of their annual cycle of public presentations? And why is it worth knowing?  A criticism of the managerialist approach is lack of domain knowledge (Refer to this 2009 ABC national broadcast1. The assumption of managerialism is that a manager can manager anything – knowledge of what the workers do and the content of their jobs is unnecessary. Management can be grafted onto any situation and predominately relies on metrics (see Orr and Orr2). This sub-study of Agile Opera was based on observations of Chamber Opera operations over the course of the project and discussions from the microlabs which ran throughout 2015-17. The Rhythm of aYear sub-project seeks to understand the existing networks of the company and the effort required to sustain organisational infrastructure while delivery those productions.

1 Accessed, 1 December, 2016 from <http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/backgroundbriefing/mba-mostly-bloody-awful/3143174>

2 Australian Universities’ Review vol. 58, No. 2. eBook: http://issuu.com/nteu/docs/aur_58-02 Published: 05 Sep, 2016. Year: 2016. Volume: 58 Issue: 2 ISSN: 0818-8068.

A web based paper produced as part of the ARC Agile Opera Project, to appear here:

http://agileopera.com

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