Cultural Policy & Advocacy in the US


Units: 6


Arts and culture managers operate in complex environments with public policies that influence operations and artistic creations that are produced, disseminated, marketed, preserved, and funded. What are these policies? Who makes, implements, and enforces them, and on what authority? How are new policies developed and why and how can they be changed? What is the role of the citizen in these matters? This course will provide students with the foundation, research, and tools to understand the context of cultural policy in the United States and how advocacy efforts can influence policy change. Students will examine a number of topic areas in this course including: a brief history of arts and cultural policy; federal, state, and local funding for arts and culture; the role of cultural diplomacy and exchange in building and defining national identity; artistic freedom and censorship matters in the arts; the role of cultural policy in placemaking, education, and job creation; and current issues of equity, public value, and cultural rights. Students will develop capacities to understand, articulate, evaluate, and advocate for cultural policies with an aim to benefit all.

Learning Outcomes:

  1. Articulate key concepts and terminology related to cultural policy matters and advocacy efforts in the United States
  2. Formulate and articulate the value of the arts and their role in society
  3. Describe the history of public support for the arts in the United States and the inception, growth, and challenges the NEA has faced in its history
  4. Discuss artistic freedom, equitable access to the arts, and the role of cultural diplomacy as key components to ensuring a strong cultural democracy
  5. Critique NEA opposition leaders and argue in favor of federal funding for the arts in the United States
  6. Classify and describe the structure and policy arena for arts and culture in the United States at the local, state, and national levels
  7. Evaluate existing cultural policy, examine indicators of its success, and suggest improvement addressing cultural equity
  8. Defend funding mechanisms and cultural policies that promote cultural equity, provide access to arts education, support creative industries, and define place
  9. Discuss advocacy strategies and participate in cultural policy and advocacy activities 
  10. Prepare and present a persuasive policy proposal by developing a policy brief
  11. Judge pitches as a “policymaker” and rate policy proposals as presented

Prerequisites Description:

No pre-requisite.