Creativity vs Capitalism: Exploring Business and the Arts

This summer, students from Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis travelled from London to Coventry, the current U.K. City of Culture. While there, they participated in The Coventry Model – Embracing Co-Creation, a conference that analyzed the impact of large publicly funded programs on the cultural and economic landscape of a city.   

One panel hosted the Community Connectors group, who focus on social engagement projects in the city. Among them, local artist Olugbemi Moronfolu worked to tackle barriers around integration by hosting workshops for people from Black backgrounds to express their creativity, while community coordinator Viktoria Sesi created a series of workshops to advocate for women’s health and wellbeing. In another panel, students met with leaders of the Coventry City of Culture team, discussing the challenges and opportunities that come with the organization of such a large cultural event. The two-day stay in Coventry was also dotted by visits to art exhibitions and galleries, and to the city’s historical landmarks, allowing the students to see first-hand the results of the Capital of Culture initiative.  

The study tour was part of the Business of the Arts summer program, custom designed for Washington University in St. Louis for a new minor degree program by the same name. The course was developed by Monika Parrinder, an Accent faculty member in London. This program explored the themes of arts and culture management by encouraging students from diverse academic backgrounds explore the challenges and opportunities for artists in different local contexts. In-class discussions with Parrinder were complemented by visits to several cultural hot-spots in London, from the Victoria and Albert Museum to the Southbank district. Through these diverse experiences, the program aimed at making students think critically about the complex relationship between culture and capitalism, business and the arts. 

This program was originally designed to include a base seminar in London and an intensive study tour to a designated European Capital of Culture city. This summer, Covid considerations led to activities be based exclusively in the U.K., and to redirect attention to Coventry. Next year, the original program will be offered with Parrinder and the students traveling from London to Timisoara, Romania, one of the European Capitals of Culture for 2023.  

Accent collaborates with U.S. partners to design programs that respond to changing curricula and requirements on campus, thanks to our great local faculty and their unique outlook on experiential learning. Contact us today to learn more about how to have us design your program.