Dissertation: Entrepreneurial mindset can be strengthened in art universities by integrating entrepreneurship education into core studies

Teaching entrepreneurial mindset can empower students to navigate their studies, their university and their profession, states Kristina Kuznetsova-Bogdanovitsh in her doctoral dissertation.

Arts universities have been expected by policy makers and society and have delivered on introducing entrepreneurial education and mindset into their educational programmes and to the people within academia in general. 

In her doctoral degree Kristina Kuznetsova-Bogdanovitsh led a practise-based research in Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre and University of the Arts Helsinki, collecting research data including 16 individual and 166 survey-interviews as well as 5 focus groups. She explored how entrepreneurial education and the entrepreneurial mindset can facilitate knowledge conversion and help develop meaningful knowledge management approaches inside an arts university as organization. 

“Entrepreneurial education and mindset are widely considered as a useful tool for arts students in connecting with the market, economy and worklife at large. However, the the  has been on providing a bridge between education and work life”, Kuznetsova-Bogdanovitsh says.

Kuznetsova-Bogdanovitsh found out that there are plenty of opportunities to participate in knowledge sharing and co-creation experiences within university but the quality and impact of these experiences on individuals and whole organization varies a lot.  

“Students do not identify with arts university as an organization, but rather with their immediate communities of practice, peers and respected mentors. Hence sharing and critical reflection of knowledge and professional experiences can be problematic within arts university as a coherent organization.”

A carrot works better than a stick in introducing entrepreneurial thinking to art universities

Kuznetsova-Bogdanovitsh’s research demonstrated that knowledge within arts universities can get trapped in the communities of practice (for example people like music students learning in a group with their professor) and often it is the individual learner who can act as a catalyst of knowledge sharing and transfer between these communities.  

“It might be hard for arts students to identify with such mindset because it does not align with their artistic identity and values. In arts universities, tying entrepreneurial learning and mindset development to the core artistic studies and engaging core artistic educators is key. Entrepreneurial education should take place throughout the studies and in a manner which connects to core artistic identity of learners.”

Entrepreneurial mindset facilitates engagement into the knowledge sharing experiences – courses, projects, events and so on. It can empower students to navigate their studies, their university and their profession. There is a long-standing craving in the society as well as people within arts universities for new ways of doing things, for novel approaches and next level of engaging communities in an around academia. Kuznetsova-Bogdanovitsh wants to show how the change can take place building on existing learning practices and educational programmes.  

“My research showed the importance and uniqueness of an individual mindset and practice within an organization, supporting the choice rather than pressuring students or academics to be entrepreneurial and to contribute to their university. In terms of knowledge management this remains a critical reflection and balancing act for university leaders and decision makers. ”

Kristina Kuznetsova-Bogdanovitsh’s dissertation Co-Constructing Knowledge Management Practices in Arts Universities: the Role of the Entrepreneurial Mindset and Education will be examined at the Sibelius Academy, Uniarts Helsinki on 26 November 2022.

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Kristina Kuznetsova-Bogdanovitsh