We are proud to announce and introduce you to an exciting new research partnership between the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts: the Arts, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation (AEI) Lab.
Setting the Stage:
The AEI Lab’s mission centers on better understanding the role of arts and culture in innovation through empirical research. Our initial research agenda emphasizes the impact of the arts and artists in driving innovation in non-arts sectors, of the arts in driving regional economic growth, and of various community and institutional characteristics in supporting arts-driven innovation. Although we expect the AEI Lab’s research to be national in scope, it will also be applicable locally in nurturing artists, organizations, and communities.
The AEI Lab is supporting research on a diverse set of topics:
- We will explore problem-solving processes in group settings and whether the inclusion of artists in such groups can foster civic innovation.
- We will use the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey to analyze the resilience of freelance artists, in comparison with independent contractors in non-arts sectors, and when measured in terms of employment and income.
- We will study the crowdfunding performance of arts- and design-intensive projects relative to other types of projects.
- We will analyze of the U.S. Census Bureau’s Zip Code Business Patterns data to identify the extent to which entrepreneurship in digital media sectors leads or follows regional economic development.
- We will explore the Bureau of Economic Analysis’ Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account to identify the arts-related subsectors that have contributed the most to broader economic growth.
The Back Story:
The AEI Lab is the result of the coming together of some important elements:
- The O’Neill School is home to several researchers working on topics at the intersection of the arts, entrepreneurship, and innovation. As social scientists and public affairs researchers, we recognize the opportunity to learn from the arts sector and contribute to this exciting and emergent area of study.
- The National Endowment for the Arts has the capacity to support and guide our research, and more importantly, help us communicate our findings to a broad public.
- The topic of the arts, entrepreneurship, and innovation is particularly ripe for research. Cities around the country are experimenting with different types of arts investments to spur innovation. For example, cities are creating arts and cultural districts while trying to attract creative workers to help stimulate local economies. Organizations are using artist-in-residence programs to boost creativity and innovation. Local governments and other organizations are incorporating the arts in innovative ways to help solve community development challenges. Some of the most innovative and dynamic sectors of the current economy have close ties to creative workers—just look at the boom in digital media, the growing importance of design, and great entrepreneurial success stories of creative workers.
Is it any wonder that the idea of the gig economy—now a household term used to describe innovative ways in which some entrepreneurs pursue their work—is inspired by a term long-used to describe jazz musicians and other artists? We have much to learn about entrepreneurship and innovation from and about the arts. So we at the AEI Lab embrace the arts sector in thinking about entrepreneurship and innovation. If we could, we’d be posting playbills for our great new production all around town!
- Doug Noonan and Joanna Woronkowicz as co-directors of the AEI Lab
- Angie Kim, from the Center for Cultural Innovation, as the lead for communications and events
- Jamie Levine Daniel and Fredrik Andersson as faculty fellows
- Tom Guevara as the director of the IU Public Policy Institute
- A great team of six O’Neill students working as research assistants
And a fantastic technical working group of experts from Indiana and around the country.
The AIE Lab is an O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs production …
in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts …
with community partner the Center for Cultural Innovation.
Coming Productions or Coming Attractions:
But that’s just the start. We are also commissioning new research by scholars around the world to contribute to our Lab. Check out the call for paper proposals here.
We’ll be ramping up our work here in the AEI Lab in advance of a big research symposium in spring of 2020. Stay tuned for more news and updates from the Lab.