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Arts-based learning of soft skills in project management for events (AL-Pro)

Antony Gormley, FEELING MATERIAL XIV, 2005; 4 mm square section mild steel bar 225 x 218 x 170 cm (unextended size); Photograph by Stephen White, London © Antony Gormley

Antony Gormley, FEELING MATERIAL XIV, 2005; 4 mm square section mild steel bar 225 x 218 x 170 cm (unextended size); Photograph by Stephen White, London © the artist

New technologies and socio-political trends are also changing the expectations of project managers. In addition to specialist and methodological skills, methods such as agile project management increasingly require social and personal skills such as communication skills, flexibility and assertiveness. Performing artists are familiar with the forms and conditions of self-directed project work under uncertain conditions. Arts-based learning simulates artistic work processes in order to use them for the personality development of people working in areas unrelated to art.

So far, however, it has only been partially investigated whether this actually works and has not yet been researched for project management (of events). The AL-Pro project therefore addresses four questions:

  1. Which skills are particularly important in project management of events?
  2. Can project managers use arts-based learning to effectively train their soft skills?
  3. Does arts-based training look more intensive than conventional training formats?
  4. How should effective arts-based training courses be designed for project managers?


The project begins with a partial study in which project managers are asked about the critical requirements for their work. In the second step, training modules are developed and carried out together with artists from the fields of theater directing and choreography. The effects are compared via a quantitative control group design with those of conventional further training offers for project managers.

Within the framework of AL-Pro, a well-founded competence model is developed in close cooperation with the practice partners, which is based on concrete behavioral expectations of project managers. If the assumption is confirmed that art-based training of soft skills is an alternative to classic further training offers for project managers, AL-Pro will provide professional associations and other providers with a tried and tested set of methods. Successful use will legitimize efforts to anchor arts-based learning more strongly in education and training - also beyond project management.

New approaches to project work

More than a third of the working time in the German economy is now project work. In customer-oriented project management, less technical and methodological knowledge is required, but communication and personality are increasingly in demand, which means a considerable need for qualification. The AL-Pro project researches how the use of methods from dance and theater strengthens the soft skills of project managers and develops promising training formats for this.

No events at the moment

Due to the current situation, all planned events such as the public presentation of the research project at Prolight + Sound in Frankfurt and the next project meeting of the partners have been canceled. We hope to be able to convey other, more enjoyable news to you shortly. Meanwhile we wish all those directly affected by the virus a hopefully mild course and all indirectly affected individuals to stand through these stressful times, which threatens the existence of many companies, solo self-employed and artist.