Business in the Arts

Acquire business skills and knowledge 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

The course is designed to help students 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/culture sector. 

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.

When you apply please state your chosen stream either Business major or non-Business major.


In the remaining four weeks, participants will have the chance to put their learning into practice by working as an intern in Edinburgh at festival organisations in a suitable role. Students 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.

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.

Wednesday to Sunday: Attendance at film screenings and events at the Edinburgh International Film Festival with tutorials and lectures.

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. 


Knowledge and Understanding

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

a) describe the various ways in which organisations are structured and managed;

b) demonstrate familiarity with concepts and techniques associated with the chief functional management disciplines;

c) appreciate the relevance of contextual factors in impinging upon productive performance;

d) appreciate the relevance of management disciplines as a means of improving productive performance

e) describe the inter-relationships between organisations and the environments in which they operate;


Cognitive Skills

On completion of the course, students should:

a) have developed the facility, through case studies and discussions with guest speakers, to analyse and solve organisational problems and issues;

b) appreciate the holistic nature of the contemporary organisation, especially through the business simulation.


Key skills

On completion of the course, students should have been encouraged to:

a) Develop oral skills and the confidence to present, discuss and challenge key managerial issues and concepts in a group setting;

b) Develop an understanding and awareness of the managerial issues experienced by a large cross-section of arts based organisations


Internship project

On completion of the internship project students will be able to:

a) Show an appreciation of the different methods of research available and the range of choices available to students.

b) Understand how to conduct a literature review, identify research questions and design a research project.

c) Develop "hands-on" experience of gathering and analysing secondary and qualitative and/or quantitative data.

d) Demonstrate skills in reporting research results and drawing implications and conclusions from the findings.

e) Demonstrate self and project management skills.

f) Experience and develop an understanding and appreciation of the application of management techniques in the arts/creative industries.

The fees for this course have been laid out fully on our course fees page.

As course fees and accommodation costs are payable separately, it will not be possible to reduce the tuition fee cost for those students who opt to arrange their own accommodation off-campus.

Tuition Fee

£575 per week


You have a choice of accommodation options for varying prices, dependent on your preferences:

  • Standard Single (catered)
  • Ensuite Single (catered)
  • Self-catered (with shared facilities)

Please note that University of Edinburgh self-catered accommodation is now sold out for August. Additional self-catering rooms close to the Central area are now available via a University accommodation partner.

Full information on accommodation options can be found here

Social Programme

To enhance your experience at the University of Edinburgh Summer School, a variety of social and cultural activities will be organized to allow you to explore and discover the history, traditions and beauty of Scotland whilst meeting people from across the world. Each student can participate in the social and cultural activities which are included in the course fee.  A free gym membership is included as well as a variety of fun and interesting things to do and see in Edinburgh.  Additionally, students can book on to day and weekend tours to explore the rest and best of Scotland (at a discounted rate for Summer School students).

Other costs

Please note you will also need to pay for any essential books on the reading lists provided and any entrance fees for exhibits and other related fees on study visits.