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The Business of Culture

Executive Program for Leaders in Arts and Culture

The Business of Culture Program is an executive program for leaders from the Art and Culture sector in the Nordic and Baltic region. The program is tailored to enrich and develop their understanding of how effective leadership, management, and networking can transform their business and organizations. The program equips leaders and executives with strategies and tools to effectively lead and advance their organizations.

This is a joint program with Gothenburg University School of Executive Education, and in co-operation with Nationalmuseum, which is the largest art and design museum in Sweden.

The program will draw on multiple perspectives – innovation, leadership, design, and strategy –of an organization engaging in futures processes to explore potential changes in arts, culture, and creativity.

”The culture industries are growing fast in the Nordic and the Baltic countries as well as in the whole of Europe. This industry is creating new jobs and facing, at the same time, new demands and positive challenges. We need top leaders with top training for these posts. Consequently, we need high profile training for the future game changers.” Susanna Pettersson, General Director at Nationalmuseum

Ever-changing social, economic and technological trends impact how audiences engage with the arts and culture, and how the industry produces and presents creative work. The need for cooperation with networks and stakeholders and for setting joint targets will increase.

To strengthen the position of culture in society, leaders need skills and competencies to impact beyond their organization and the field itself. This new era calls for new managerial skills and a change in leadership mindsets.

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Discover and challenge – Have the privilege to join the first of its kind consortium program across the Nordics and the Baltics led by Aalto EE and GUSEE in collaboration with Nationalmuseum, Sweden.

Analyze and focus- Opportunity to explore and think on your own time with the blended format comprising two online courses and nine intense face to face days in three countries.

Broaden your horizons – The best and the latest expertise from faculty and experts from Nordics & Baltics and from internationally acclaimed art and culture programs across the globe.


The end goal is to build the business acumen capabilities of participants, to contribute to finding unique ways in which art and culture institutions can stay relevant and have an even larger impact on their surrounding societies. Participants will meet and network with leaders and experts from the field throughout the program and explore new and innovative concepts.

Transition from an expert to a leader through self-development process
Cultivate a mindset of change and innovation and develop an entrepreneurial attitude towards the business of culture.
Build a stronger understanding of how to deploy organizational strengths and external networks to maximize creativity and collaborative outcomes within the community
Gain deeper understanding of the world around us and key factors that are impacting our purpose of existence and the rise of humanism

About GU School of Executive Education

GU School of Executive Education is part of the School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg. The School of Business, Economics and Law is the only triple-crown business school in Sweden, as it holds the AMBA, EQUIS and AACSB accreditations.

GUSEE delivers Sweden’s only AMBA-accredited Executive MBA programme and custom programmes for the private and public sectors. By designing programs to always combine academic rigor and lasting practical relevance, GUSEE develops leaders and executives globally.

About Nationalmuseum

Nationalmuseum is Sweden’s largest art and design museum, and one of the country’s key institution for collaborations in its field both in Sweden and abroad.

Nationalmuseum is a government authority that falls within the remit of the Swedish Ministry of Culture. The mission is to preserve the nation’s cultural heritage, provide knowledge and expertise, and to promote public access to art. The core focus is on displaying, collecting, preserving and researching.


The program is designed for professionals working in arts and culture organizations in Nordic and Baltic countries. The applicant should be in a leadership position and highly motivated to take their skills to the next level. The Program is for dynamic experts who are eager to grow as a leader and are enthusiastic in embracing and living the business of culture. We are seeking both young and seasoned practitioners to breed a cross-fertilization of ideas, insights and experiences.

In the recent past the world has changed a lot, and so have the art and culture organizations. Therefore, it’s becoming more essential for leaders in this sector to have the right knowledge in order to make strategic decisions about how to respond to today’s needs and to the new ways to work.

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Contents and Schedule

The program is divided into three themes. The first theme starts with the self-development/activation process, focusing on increasing self-awareness and enabling to lead and steer change in the place of work and beyond. The second theme develops the business acumen in strategic management and planning, and offers tools and frameworks of design thinking and creating entrepreneurial mindset in a digital era. Building the culture that supports strategy, effective communication and audience & community engagement are covered in the third module. This last theme is completed with a discussion on how arts and culture have the power to convey and inspire societal change.

The program will be delivered over three 3-day modules. Days will include lectures, keynotes, discussions, and workshops. Interactive and reflective tools and methods will be used throughout the program to help thinking and renewal. Discovery visits and Mindfulness sessions are used to augment the learning during the program. Evenings are reserved for receptions to meet with arts and culture colleagues, as well as to network with peers from the program.

An optional coaching element is available to participants.

Program Structure

Nordic networking experience

Modules in Denmark, Finland and Sweden

Three-day module

Intensive face-to-face sessions offering experiental learning and reflective opportunities

Self development process

Growing as a leader with the self-development process, and optional coaching or mentoring processes

Program Schedule


Susanna Pettersson

Dr. Susanna Pettersson is Director General at Nationalmuseum, Sweden. She is an art historian specializing in museum history and collection studies. Before moving to Stockholm, she worked as Director of the Ateneum Art Museum, Finnish National Gallery.

Dr. Pettersson has worked for more than twenty years in museums. Her posts have included Director of the Finnish Institute in London, Director of the Alvar Aalto Foundation and Museum and Director of Development at the Finnish National Gallery.

She is also Adjunct Professor in Museology at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland, and Associate Professor at the Reinwardt Academy in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Dr. Pettersson’s research interests include museum history, collection studies, history of art history as well as 19th -century and modern art, and she publishes widely. Her positions of trust include Board Membership of Aalto University (Finland) and she is also President of the Board of the Finnish Institute in Japan.

Pekka Mattila

Dr. Pekka Mattila serves as a Professor of Practice at the Aalto University School of Business. He works frequently with European, Asian, African and North-American executive audiences on themes of strategic management and agility, strategy co-creation, business model innovation, executive leadership, top team dynamics, change management, organizational culture and strategic marketing.

Since spring 2011 he has served as the Group Managing Director and Associate Dean of Aalto University Executive Education.

In addition to his academic activities Dr. Mattila has conducted an active business career. Currently he serves as the Chairman of the Board or as a Member of the Board at a number of innovative companies. Previously he served in executive, management and senior staff positions in the Nordic financial services industry. Currently he serves as a Member of the Board of The Finnish National Gallery. From 2009 till 2017 he served as the Chairman of the Board of the Helsinki Festival. He is a Founding Member of Nordic Institute of Business and Society.

Dr. Mattila holds a doctorate and masters in sociology at the University of Helsinki and an Executive MBA at London Business School. Over the years, he has frequently visited a number of prestigious European and Asian universities teaching management, organizational behaviour, marketing and sociology. Dr. Mattila has authored a number of managerial books on leadership, change management and strategic marketing and sales.

Dr. Mattila’s consulting and coaching career started in 2003, and his corporate clients comprise over 270 Nordic and international companies, entrepreneurial ventures as well as prominent public sector institutions and NGOs.

Ben Nothnagel

Ben Nothnagel is a Senior Advisor at Aalto University Executive Education and has worked with Aalto EE for more than 20 years. He specializes in developing the leadership skills of executives who are part of ambitious businesses.

Nothnagel's focus is on encouraging individuals and organizations to excel by increasing self-awareness, creating understanding of the individual diversity of performance and results, enhancing influencing-skills and building high-performance leadership teams.

Nothnagel’s current research focus on three main areas: neuro-leadership (practical lessons that leaders can learn from neuro-science), cognitive decision-making and emotional-intelligence.

Nothnagel teaches periodically in Aalto Executive Education Executive MBA programs at various locations in Europe and Asia. He is the owner of Benna Oy and is a Senior Advisor at Aalto EE. He works as a consultant and executive-coach all over the world, including the Nordic-countries, Germany, the United States and Asia. His clients include companies such as ABB, Basware, Cargotec, Danfoss, Daimler, Fazer, Finnair, GE, Hewlett-Packard, HKScan, Michelin, Ruukki, Vaisala and Yahoo.

Nothnagel is an Attorney at Law, Myers-Briggs Certified Interpreter and Certified Emotional-Intelligence Practitioner.

Program Fee and Registration

Program Fee

Aalto EE and GUSEE are in the process of applying for funding from various foundations and organizations on behalf of the participants. The final program fee for participants will be subsidized to approximately 50% of the actual value of the program.

Kindly fill in the pre-application form to be kept updated about the fee and other details of the program.

Please note that the program fee does not include travel and accommodation expenses to all three modules. VAT is applicable to private persons and Finnish companies.

Register for the program by May 10, 2019.

Program start