NEA Research Labs: The Arts, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation

Overview

Each of our Labs on the “Arts, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation” focus on at least two of the following research questions”:

  • What is the link between artists (including designers) and broad societal innovation, particularly with regard to economic and job growth?
  • What role do arts and cultural assets play in promoting civic and/or corporate innovation in a community?
  • What individual, organizational, or regional characteristics can positively affect the arts’ relationship to entrepreneurship and innovation?
  • In which industries, sectors, or geographic areas is arts-driven innovation visible and measurable?

Current NEA Research Labs

Indiana University—Purdue University, Indianapolis, IN
Principal Investigator: Douglas Noonan, PhD

Researchers from Indiana University, Bloomington and Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis in partnership with the Center for Cultural Innovation will create Arts Entrepreneurship and Innovation (AEI) Lab to conduct studies. In one study, researchers 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. In a separate study, researchers will explore problem-solving processes in group settings and whether the inclusion of artists in such groups can foster civic innovation. The lab will produce five empirical research papers and will host a workshop for stakeholders and members of the research community to share the Lab's research findings and plans for future work.

The research agenda aims to address the following research questions:

  1. What is the artist's role in civic innovation?;
  2. What leadership role do artists play in emerging "platform" and "gig" economies?;
  3. Where does innovation and economic growth occur in the digital media sector?; and
  4. Which arts sectors are linked to broader societal innovation, as reflected by U.S. economic and job growth?

Other Key Personnel

  • Joanna Woronkowicz, PhD
  • Angie Kim, PhD
  • Thomas Guevara, MA

University of Indiana School of Environmental and Public Affairs logo


University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
Principal Investigator: Charles Fluharty, MDiv

The Rural Policy Research Institute (RUPRI) at the University of Iowa, in partnership with the organization Art of the Rural, will look at the intersection of “The Arts, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation” in rural contexts. RUPRI also will work with its Rural Intracultural Policy Council to develop pilot studies of rural "cultural ecologies." The pilot studies may use social network analysis, structured interviews, and respondent-driven survey sampling to test hypotheses about cultural and social capital as preconditions to innovation.

The research agenda aims to address the following research questions:

  1. What is the link between artists (including designers) and broad societal innovation, particularly with regard to economic and job growth?; and
  2. What role do arts organizations play in promoting civic innovation in a community?

Other Key Personnel

  • Kiley Arroyo, MA
  • Sam Cordes, PhD
  • Matthew Fluharty, PhD
  • Thomas Johnson, PhD

For more information on this Lab, see their Research Lab webpage.

Rural Policy Research Institute at the University of Iowa logo        University of Iowa logo