Business in the Arts

Build your business skills and gain practical experience in the arts and entertainment industry

Business In The Arts from Summer School UoE on Vimeo.

Summer School Business in The Arts course at the Edinburgh Festival 2015

Business in the Arts is designed to help you acquire an understanding of the nature, structure, and workings of contemporary business organisations in the arts and creative industries, and the management processes that take place within them. Through the use of guest speakers, case studies, simulations and visits, the course will focus on the application of business practice in organisations operating in the arts and culture sector. 

The course takes the form of four weeks of academic study followed by a four week internship.

Two pathways are available – one for students with a background in business and those with an arts or non-business background. Students from both academic backgrounds will take modules in strategy, marketing, entrepreneurship, and human resource management. Students with no business background will also complete modules in accounting, finance and operations management, whereas current business majors will complete modules in the role of the arts in society.


In the second four-week block, you will have the chance to put their learning into practice by working as an intern in Edinburgh in a suitable role within a festival organisation. You will be able to learn practical aspects of arts management within one or more organisational departments including roles in publicity, press, front of house, box office or production, among others. Check out our video above to see what our students learned and experienced during their internship.

Course format

The course is divided into three parts:

  • Business in the Arts I – with two available pathways for Business or non-Business majors
  • Business in the Arts II
  • Business in the Arts III – Internship

Each student will pick an appropriate pathway in Business in the Arts I, with both groups of students working together to complete a Simulation Exercise. All students will then complete Business in the Arts II and III. 

Each part is worth 10 credits, totalling 30 credits for the overall programme


Business in the Arts I

Pathway 1 – for non-Business majors

  • 70% – Multiple Choice Exam covering: Accounting, Finance, and Operations Management
  • 30% – Business Simulation Exercise

Pathway 2 – for Business majors

  • 70% - Multiple Choice Exam covering Art Management Fundamentals
  • 30% - Simulation Exercise

Art Management Fundamentals will focus on the economic and cultural role art plays in society, covering a number of present day issues facing the arts including government and private funders, the role of public policy and arts as a non-profit or for-profit business. As the course is an integral component of the Business in the Arts programme it will not be available to students from out-with the programme.

Included in both pathways:

The Business Simulation Assessment will see students from both pathways work together on the business simulation, peer assessment, and a final group report which will be a reflective review of the lessons learned as a result of the simulation.


Business in the Arts II

  • 100% Multiple Choice Exam covering: Human Resource Management, Enterprise in Arts, Marketing, and Business Policy and Strategy.


Business in the Arts III - Internship

  • 80% - Individual written report (1700-2000 words)
  • 20% - Internship attendance and conduct report submitted by internship hosts. The individual report is to be based on the work undertaken during the 4-week internship period. The topic will be identified following discussions with the Programme Director.

Participation in the internship is vital for the completion of the Business in the Arts course. 

On completion of the course, students should be able to:

  • Describe the various ways in which organisations are structured and managed
  • Demonstrate familiarity with concepts and techniques associated with the chief functional management disciplines
  • Appreciate the relevance of contextual factors in impinging upon productive performance
  • Understand ppreciate the relevance of management disciplines as a means of improving productive performance
  • Describe the inter-relationships between organisations and the environments in which they operate
  • Analyse and solve organisational problems and issues, based on case studies and discussions with guest speakers
  • Appreciate the holistic nature of the contemporary organisation, especially through the business simulation
  • Present, discuss, and challenge key managerial issues and concepts in a group setting
  • Understand the managerial issues experienced by a large cross-section of arts based organisations

On completion of the internship, students should be able to:

  • Show an appreciation of the different methods of research available and the range of choices available to students.
  • Understand how to conduct a literature review, identify research questions and design a research project.
  • Develop "hands-on" experience of gathering and analysing secondary and qualitative and/or quantitative data.
  • Demonstrate skills in reporting research results and drawing implications and conclusions from the findings.
  • Demonstrate self and project management skills.
  • Experience and develop an understanding and appreciation of the application of management techniques in the arts/creative industries.

A number of fee packages are available for the Summer School. Full fee information can be found on the Fees page.

All fee packages include tuition costs, the social programme, and your chosen accommodation type. Full information on our accommodation options can be found here.

Costs are provided per week. To calculate your total cost, select your package type, then multiply this cost by the number of weeks in your course.

e.g. A student selecting a Silver package for a 4-week course in July would calculate:

£757 x 4 weeks = £3028

To secure your place at the Summer School, you will be required to pay a deposit of £250 which can be reclaimed towards your fee package. This includes a non-refundable £50 application fee.

Please note that study in the UK may incur additional costs e.g. visa application fees.

If you submit your application and deposit before 31 January 2017, you can claim our special early bird rate. We also offer a range of special rates for students at our valued partner institutions. Please see our Fees page for more details.