Arts Admin Dissertation Research

Welcome to my dissertation research page! Read on for more information about this critical arts-based inquiry and how you can participate.

Call for participants: Dissertation Research - back and gold stylized

Research Question.
How do the embodied experiences of female-identifying arts administrators affect the field of nonprofit arts administration?

Arts administration is a queer profession. We balance creative and managerial work behind the scenes and on the front lines of art institutions to bring artistic experiences to individuals and communities.  There is growing consensus among arts administrators that the status quo of this work conflicts with their bodies’ well-being, hinders institutional mission achievement, and inhibits equity.  A more nuanced understanding of the embodied experience of arts administration might rupture social and institutional norms and open opportunities for redistributions of powers, resources, and values.  This research tells narrative, arts-based, queer stories about how, what, and why art admins do their work, and inextricable links between institutional policies and lived experiences. A critical arts-based inquiry invites co-creation and co-meaning-making to foster a more ethical research process.

Participant Eligibility
Adults over the age of 18 living anywhere in the United States who work full-time at a nonprofit arts/cultural organization are invited to participate. Arts administrator is a broadly defined self-identification: you may work in any art form (e.g. dance, visual art, service, advocacy) or department (e.g., education, development, marketing, visitor services, finance, accessibility, front of house, etc.).

Benefits to participating include contributing to a better understanding of life as an arts administrator, having the opportunity to reflect on personal/career goals, engaging in creative production, and heightened visibility of arts administration profession. My goal is to share results with academic and practitioner audiences, considering accessibility of content and spaces.

What Does Participation Look Like??
There are two ways to participate in this study:
1) commitment to multiple interviews/co-creating artistic product/s; or
2) responding to a call for art/ifacts.

This research relies on arts administrator networks. If you know someone who might like to participate or a space for arts admins, please share a link to this recruitment page, Thank you!

Option 1. Interviews & Co-Creating — Closed / Concluded
In line with my own nested identity and a majority of the field’s gendered demographics, female-identifying arts administrators are invited to participate in a series of up to or more than three (3) semi-structured interviews which will take place over the course of several months, online and/or in person, at your convenience.  This component of the project seeks 5 to 25 participants representing diverse nested identities and professional experiences. Eligible participants will be randomly selected to participate.
*The most important factor for participation is your willingness to play, reflect, challenge, and create during the research process.

Interview #1 – Getting to know you (and me), background, current career positions, policies/practices, and trends in the sector.
Interview #2 – Playing with concepts and theories in relation to arts administration such as memory, professionalization, power, nested identities, embodiment, time.
*Ideally, this interview will take place while going for a walk together, either in-person or over the phone, depending on geography. I am based in Ohio with some ability to travel.
Interview #3 – Co-creating artwork and work-shopping embodiment, ideas, themes, and reflection on the research process.

Duration – Approximately twelve (12) hours or less. This includes up to or more than three (3) meetings, lasting approximately 90 minutes each, over three to four months; personal and collaborative reflective and creative work between and during meetings; and opportunity to review data and analysis before publication.

Deadline – Participants will be recruited February 1 – March 31, 2022
**Eligible participants will be randomly selected to participate and contacted in early April 2022.

Interested in Option #1?
Complete this brief form
(or email 

Interview Interest
I confirm that I am eligible to participate in this research study. This means I am a female-identifying adult (age 18 or older), who lives in the United States, and works as an arts administration professional at a non-profit organization.

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Option 2. Call for Art/ifacts
Arts administrators are familiar with calls for participation; this option reflects that practice. Art/ifacts sought are a tangible expression or representation of your embodied and lived experience as an arts administrator. These might be images, writings, visual art, and/or multi/media (see my examples below). Media must be original and cannot be copyrighted, unless you hold the rights.  Images may be used individually and/or juxtaposed with others, but will not be altered. Arts administrators age 18+ of any gender, including a non-binary identity working full time at a nonprofit arts/cultural organization are invited to participate.

Duration – approximately three (3) hours or less to create/collect your art/ifact and submit online.

Deadline – June 30, 2022

Interested in Option #2?
Click here to review the Consent for Participation then go to the online submit form.

Embodiment Art/ifacts of My Life as an Arts Administrator

State of Ohio, VSA Ohio, Erin Hoppe; woman with short brown hair, glasses, smiling, blue shirt, black cardiganPhoto of my Work ID Badge – Access, prestige, work on my hip, around my neck.  A non-profit renting space in a government building.  The heat from carrying it around for so long faded the image.  I erased my glasses when I had Lasik surgery and added many gray hairs as the years went on.

an abbreviated inventory of my nonprofit’s people policies. abuse prevention. anti-harassment and discrimination. artist agreement. by-laws. conflict of interest. credit card. directors and officers insurance. document retention and destruction. dress code. fiscal. leave. nomination. reimbursement. site use contract. strategic plan. telecommuting. teaching artist contract. travel. web privacy. whistle blower. et cetera. et cetera. et cetera.

Risk and Confidentiality
We anticipate that no risks, harms, and/or discomforts are expected in this research. Participants will not receive financial or other tangible compensation for participation in this study. Participants and art/ifacts will be anonymous with a pseudonym unless they elect to be named. You do not need to provide any contact information to submit an art/ifact. Data is collected via an encrypted, two-factor authentication form, and housed on a secure device.

*Click here to view the IRB Approval Letter for this research.