Arts-based Learning von Soft Skills

im Projektmanagement von Veranstaltungen

Project description

In both business and the third sector, creativity has replaced expertise as a key resource. In an environment characterised by increasing complexity and dynamics as well as a tendency towards cooperative forms of work with a global reach, innovation and management processes demand personal and social competences such as flexibility, tolerance of ambiguity, communication skills and intercultural competence. This is particularly true for the project management of events.

As a consequence, a paradigm shift towards agile methods and processes is currently taking place on the one hand, and an opening to arts-based methods of organisational and human resource development, such as corporate theatre, on the other. Arts-based learning is a collective term that encompasses a rather wide range of objectives, approaches and methods used in non-arts disciplines for educational purposes [17] [11]. The crucial element of arts-based learning is to simulate working processes of visual or performing arts, poetry, music or dance and to use them for personal development [10] [14]. However, the effects of arts-based training formats (arts-based learning) on the development of soft skills, especially social and personal competences of the participants, and how successful formats should be designed taking such effects into account, have only been rudimentarily researched.

In relation to this, the project has three objectives:

  • Development and evaluation of competence profiles for event project management with special reference to personal and social competences (identification of competence needs);
  • Design of theatre and dance-based training modules to teach personal and social competences with particular relevance to project and event management (development of application-oriented solutions to meet competence needs); and
  • Evidence of the impact of arts-based training modules on individual competence acquisition (evaluation of competence development).


However, the effects of arts-based training formats (arts-based learning) on the development of soft skills, especially social and personal competences of the participants, and how successful formats should be designed taking such effects into account, have only been rudimentarily researched.Classical formats in personnel development that are geared towards training routines are only suitable to a limited extent for the acquisition of those social and personal competences such as self-organisation or assertiveness that methods such as agile project management and Scrum demand. Art-based forms have received greater attention in corporate practice since the mid-1990s because they do not focus on the acquisition of technical and methodological knowledge, but on personal and social competences [2].

Research Questions

  1. Which competences are particularly important in the project management of events? How do they have an effect on the accomplishment of tasks?
  2. To what extent does Arts-based Learning have an impact on the acquisition of the necessary personal and social competences in this field of application? What are the potentials and limitations of the approach?
  3. How does the effect of arts-based learning differ from the effects of non-arts-based forms of teaching and learning? What are the advantages of the approach compared to formats that aim to impart explicit knowledge about the competence areas mentioned?
  4. How should arts-based training be designed in terms of content and form in order to have the greatest possible effect on the development of participants? Do training formats related to theatre and dance have different effects?

State of Research

The definition of competence requirements for the project management of events is mostly done without an empirical basis from the analysis of tasks, areas of responsibility and authority [14][4] or from the necessary knowledge and skills in event management [6]. The few studies, such as a survey of 21 event management experts [5] or 16 event managers [1], remain qualitative. Quantitative studies on personal and social competences in event project management do not exist.

Arts-based learning is considered to have considerable potential in the literature. According to this, arts-based training has positive effects on competences such as perceptiveness and creativity and has a positive impact on social competences such as communication skills, cooperation skills and intercultural competence [15] [4]. However, the empirical foundation of these hypotheses on arts-based learning is unsatisfactory. Only a few studies focus specifically on personal and/or social competences and break them down. The available studies are predominantly qualitative in nature. Almost all are limited to one-off and/or time-limited learning arrangements. The most meaningful analyses refer to arts-based learning of children, young people or students [5] [9] [8]. The few analyses that focus on the acquisition of competences in the context of further education concern the broad field of management or leadership [7] [16] [13]. The application of arts-based learning in project management in general and in the project management of events in particular has not yet been investigated.

Methodical approach

In the first step, interviews were conducted with proven experts on the basis of a developed guideline on the behavioural expectations of project and event managers that are relevant to success. In addition, the personal and social competences that are relevant for this group of people are examined with guideline-based interviews. For the development of a competence model, the behavioural patterns are then clustered and the components are operationalised on the basis of concrete observation anchors.

In the second step, theatre and dance-based training modules were developed and implemented together with qualified artists, which are suitable for addressing the identified competence gaps. For the implementation, test persons were recruited from the companies involved in the project, who perform project and event management tasks in companies.

In the third step, which accompanies the implementation of the training and, if necessary, leads to a revision of the modules, the effect of the further training on the individual competences of the test persons was determined in an experimental control group design. In this step, control groups were used that were trained without artistic components. The levels of learning and behaviour were assessed before the training and after the interventions. At the learning level, an objective test was developed in addition to the subjective self-assessment and carried out with the test persons.

Results Qualitative and Quantitative Study

The results will be published here shortly.


Articles will be published here shortly.


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  1. Arrow upAdler, Nancy (2006): The Arts & Leadership, in: Academy of Management Leadership & Education, 4/2017, S. 486-499
  1. Arrow upBobel, Tilo (2008): Logistikorientiertes Management von Events, Berlin
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