Department of communication and culture

Faculty interview #4 - Terje Gaustad

Dr. Terje Gaustad, Assistant Professor, is Associate Dean for BI´s bachelor program in Creative Industries Management. He holds a PhD in Strategic Management and an M.A. in Communication Management. His background also stems from the professional entertainment industry.

What has been your career path leading up to your current position?

- I had a somewhat unusual career path compared to many here at BI. I did my M.A. degree in Communication Management at Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism in Los Angeles. After that, I started working in the film industry over there. I worked with international distribution for a few years, within what is called “legal and business affairs”. Thereafter, I went back to Europe and started a production company in the UK. After some time we relocated the company to Switzerland. In this period of my life I worked internationally on several different film projects. 

Professor emeritus Rolf Høyer, who at the time was the leader for what was called the Centre for Media Economy, was the one who “invited” me into academia. He knew that I was interested, and helped me get a doctoral scholarship. This made it possible for me to start my degree here at BI. After finishing it, I was offered a part time position. I combined my work at BI with my work within the film industry for several years. It wasn´t before 2019 that I became a full time academic at BI. I guess that makes me a so-called “pracademic”, as my experience stems both from my practical and academic background. 

Could you tell us about your research?

- I do several things, mainly within two fields. One of the fields is centered around transaction cost economy, which I use to study creative business, especially the entertainment businesses. As of now, I am doing a collaboration with Professor Harry Arne Solberg from NTNU. We study how rights agreements for Norwegian football have developed throughout the last 20 years. In this area there has been a great increase of value. We look at the agent's role when entering into an agreement, their contribution to the value creation, and how these deals are maintained. 

The other field is storytelling, which is of course connected to my background in the film industry. We look at how storytelling is in effect within working life and businesses. Right now I am doing a case study on how the Federal Office for the Environment in Switzerland is using storytelling in their work for biodiversity. 

"It's exciting to see how creative competence, of which there is so much within creative industries, is relevant and can be used in other businesses as well. "

Terje Gaustad

Assistant Professor - Department of Communication and Culture

What makes your research meaningful to you?

- Working with subject matter that I am very interested in. Furthermore, it is inspiring to be able to do research on these issues, and figure out step by step how things actually work. I have worked within the creative industries for so many years, and I can see the glowing commitment, and all the creativity that exists there. Therefore, I hope my research can help make the everyday life of those who work within the creative industries a little easier. 

The same thing goes for storytelling. It's exciting to see how creative competence, of which there is so much within creative industries, is relevant and can be used in other businesses as well. 

What is the biggest obstacle you've overcome in your professional life?

- I think pracademics such as myself can have a tendency to fall between two stools. From an academic standing point, as things are today, we have “wasted” most of our lives outside academia. Unfortunately film production and festival attendances don´t count in regards to academic publishing. On the other hand I feel very close to the creative industries. This inside knowledge would have been hard to gain elsewhere.  

Could you tell us about your teaching?

- This semester I had my first class in an Executive Master of Management program within the use of storytelling as a strategic tool. Many of the students have backgrounds from the communication industry, but we also had entrepreneurs, financiers, and people working within insurance. It is very interesting to work with such a broad group of people. Furthermore, it has been exciting to see how all these people can learn about storytelling, and thereafter use these skills within their own areas of profession.

This semester we also had an exciting cooperation with Aalto University Executive Education in Finland, through a Nordic program called Business of Culture. Leaders, primarily from the cultural industries in the Nordic and the Baltic States, attend this program. I had the opportunity to lead a module at BI where I teach transaction cost economy, and how students can use this theory to think more strategically in their work.

I am also the Associate Dean for the bachelor programme in Creative Industries Management here at BI. I therefore supervised many students with their Bachelor thesis this semester. It's very exciting to see what the students have learnt, and what they are able to do at the end of their studies!

Lastly, what is a fun fact about you?

- I have a fear of heights, despite this I got myself an USHPA Certification as a paraglider! Unfortunately that did not cure my fear of heights…