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Academics and practitioners are working to understand the connections between artivism and entrepreneurial activity and behavior, seeing both as catalysts for social transformation. Callander argues that the processes for structuring and implementing socially engaged artwork rely on effectual entrepreneurial behavior and Hjorth underlines how both artivism and entrepreneurial behavior challenge the dominant models and conventional structures that govern the social realities of our world.
Artists today are often entrepreneurs in the practical sense that they form their own livelihoods to a greater extent than most. For example, van Gogh’s passion and entrepreneurial imagination led to groundbreaking work that changed the vision of modern art. Further, artivists proactively leverage contingencies and means to their advantage, and sometimes create improbable alliances, break laws, and employ “shock and awe” tactics to grab notice and wield influence. Picasso and Braque referred to their practices and expertise, transforming existing means into new effects, giving rise to the Cubist art movement. Like entrepreneurs who use this effectual reasoning, artivists embark on journeys of discovery, not knowing—or expecting—at the outset what the end results will be.
Questioning the neutrality of art and aesthetics upheld within classical art, artivists stand for raising awareness of the political nature of artistic creation, framing it as a praxis of power for bettering society from the bottom up…


Academics and practitioners are working to understand the connections between activist art and art making (artivism) and entrepreneurial activity and behavior, seeing both as catalysts for social transformation. Here we explore artivism as entrepreneurial effectuation in relation to gender inequality. We observe artivists raising awareness of the political nature of artistic creation, framing it as a way of bettering society from the bottom up. By engaging affect, they seek to engender agitational and participatory practices that challenge power relations within art, culture, and wider society. To explore this through the lens of effectuation, we engage with an exhibition on gender inequality, produced in 2016 in Paris. We recreate the exhibition, again in Paris, with twenty of the eighty-one original artworks in 2018 to analyze observer reactions to their own engagement. From the data, preliminary in form, we surmise that artivism moves the public to envisage a change in behavior in relation to gender inequality, as the possibility of new behavior is expressed in a spontaneously effectual way. We conclude that the integration of artivism with entrepreneurship for redressing gender inequality has positive effects when artivism is conceived of as opening the realm of possibilities for self and others without expectations about outcomes or gains.

Noreen O’Shea
Noreen O’Shea, PhD, is Associate Professor Emeritus at ESCP Business School in Paris. She is pursuing her research in the field of entrepreneurship, particularly in relation to the learning processes of small business founders and company managers. In parallel, she offers a business coaching activity that integrates a neurocognitive dimension, enabling a better understanding and enhancement of the behavioural dynamics of individuals and teams.
Teresa Nelson
Dr. Teresa Nelson, PhD, is a professor of strategic management and entrepreneurship in the Business School at Simmons University in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. She also holds a guest appointment in the GEST Research Group at the University of Quebec at Montreal. Nelson is recognized internationally in both academic research and practice areas for her work on gender, diversity, and inclusion, on entrepreneurship and family business, and on their intersections. She has published extensively in top academic journals and is committed to bridging research to policy and practice through her consulting company ( Recent work includes leadership of a Sloan Foundation study on the commercialization of science in STEM by female faculty at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; an appointment as a Visiting Scholar for the STEM equity brain trust of the US National Science Foundation ADVANCE ARC Network; and the feature of her work with Dr. Christina Constantinidis, Daughters of Family Business and Succession, at the Family Firm Institute’s 2021 Family Enterprise Research Conference.
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