New course in art of cultural management

Canadians are engaging with the arts by visiting museums, art galleries and historic sites in large numbers. In fact, according to the American Museum Alliance, in North America, over 850 million people visit museums every year. These attendance numbers surpass all professional sporting events and theme park attendance combined.

To help understand this phenomena, The University of Winnipeg, and the Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG), have created The Art of Cultural Management course, BUS 4900-001, offered through the Faculty of Business and Economics.

The course will be taught by the esteemed alum Dr. Stephen Borys, Director and CEO of the Winnipeg Art Gallery, and adjunct professor in UWinnipeg’s Department of Cultural Studies.

To gain a better understanding of why we have – and go to – museums, and why they matter, this course examines the development and management of European and North American cultural institutions, including the Winnipeg Art Gallery.

It will also examine the development and management of museums, and their role within the production, dissemination, and consumption of material culture and its relationship to everyday commerce and the economics of taste.

Borys notes museums do much more than collect, they preserve, and exhibit; they participate in the packaging and marketing of cultural ideas, engaging with diverse and multiple audiences.

“Art remains one of the most unregulated commodities and assets today,” said Borys, “In a world where business is increasingly promoting the creative class, cultural institutions play a critical role in the economies of communities globally, intersecting with for- and not-for-profit worlds.”

This three-credit course offered through Zoom also includes three visits to the WAG with access to the gallery’s collections and exhibitions, as well as discussions with members of the WAG executive team.

“This course is interesting from so many different perspectives,” said Dr. Hugh Grant, Dean, Faculty of Business and Economics. “I relish the thought of students from a diverse set of backgrounds and disciplines – from business to cultural studies – discussing issues from museum attendance to aesthetics. And who better to lead the discussion than Dr. Borys.”

Founded in 1912, the WAG is Canada’s first civic art gallery. Housed in an iconic modernist building in the heart of downtown Winnipeg, the WAG has grown into one of the country’s leading visual art museums with an international reputation. The new WAG Inuit Art Centre, the first of its kind in the world, will be opening soon.

BUS-4900-001 is open to all UWinnipeg students who are in the final 30 credit hours of their 4-year degree. To request permission to enroll in the course, please contact Dr. Stephen Borys at s.borys@uwinnipeg.ca

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