Hey, arts futurists: Let’s confer!

My dream job has a title: futurist. Despite the fact that monster.com claims that “there are zero futurist jobs” (hah!—imagine that!), I think plenty of good work and opportunity lie in trying to envision the future and how to react to its many possibilities.

It strikes me that conferences—APAP included—are designed to be forward-looking. We confer (remember, it’s a confer-ence) like children at the base of an insurmountable schoolyard wall where we start to scramble and hoist. Gradually, by standing on each other’s shoulders and shouting back and forth we catch glimpses of the other side—visions of what our world might be like tomorrow or years from tomorrow.

Indeed, an APAP 2011 theme says it well: “Don’t wait for tomorrow. 2021 begins now.” Fortunately, I think that arts folk make above-average futurists and fortunetellers, given that we’re always looking to the next season, the next song, the next sensation.

Let me issue two invitations as you gear up for APAP 2011:

  1. No matter your role or interests, don’t miss “Possible Futures 2021: Scenarios for Performing Arts Presenting,” a professional development session on Saturday morning at 9am. My colleagues and I from the Bolz Center for Arts Administration (an MBA program at the Wisconsin School of Business) will teach “scenario planning,” a strategic planning framework that will help you envision possible futures and work backwards to strategic actions you can take today.
  2. In the comments to this post, I dare you to write one critical uncertainty related to your personal arts practice or your organization, and how you might harness APAP 2011 to catch a glimpse beyond the wall.

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One Response to Hey, arts futurists: Let’s confer!

  1. Hey Andrew,

    Loving the schoolyard wall metaphor. We’ll start a human pyramid as soon as I get to New York tomorrow! There are so many dynamics in our environment that are both critical to the strategic direction of professional performing arts presenting, and highly uncertain. Should be a really useful conversation to explore some of them together.


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