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Brett Ashley Crawford, PhD

Brett Ashley Crawford, PhD

Associate Teaching Professor

Dr. Brett Ashley Crawford is an Associate Teaching Professor of Arts Management at Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy and the Faculty Chair of the Masters of Arts & Entertainment Management programs.

Dr. Crawford has worked extensively as a professional arts manager, primarily in theatre, and as a professor in both arts management and theatre history. The highlights of her private sector work include serving as Managing Director of three institutions: Imagination Stage, an arts education and professional theatre located in Bethesda, MD, Rep Stage in Columbia, MD, and St. Bart’s Plahouse in New York City.  She also served as the production manager for the Horowitz Center for the Arts in Columbia, MD and as a stage manager for over 100 productions across the US. She is a member of Actors Equity Association. She has held myriad independent management, marketing and consulting engagements in theatre, film, and arts festival work in PA, NY, GA, TN, TX, and MD. 

Her academic areas of specialization include creative theories, marketing, audience engagement, strategy and management systems, technology and the arts, and the history of American theatre. She co-authored Raising the Curtain: Technology Success Stories from Performing Arts Leaders and Artists (Wiley, 2024). Current research and pending publications include a monograph on Nonprofit Entrepreneurial Leadership (under review), contemporary interventions of transformational digital technologies in the arts, and a history of women producers on Broadway from 1900 to present.

She currently serves as the executive director for the Arts Management and Technology Laboratory, a Research Center in Heinz College. AMT Lab serves the field through active research and engagement into the technology solutions artists and institutions are utilizing in their workdays and public programs. Recent national research studies include Using Artificial Intelligence to Increase Engagement with Public Art and Emerging Digital Pathways for Fundraising.

She has presented invited lectures and workshops across the United States and internationally on marketing, audience engagement, audience development, business models and methods, technology and the arts, and production management to audiences including guests of the Department of State, Arts Presenters, the University of Helsinki, and the Center for Cultural Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and Transformative Consumer Research.

Prior to coming to CMU, she served as an assistant professor and program director of the graduate Arts Management program at American University. She also taught arts management and theatre history at University of Maryland, College Park, Towson University, Georgia State University, Auburn University and LaGrange College.

She received her BS in Theatre from Northwestern University, MFA in Arts Management from Texas Tech University, with a Ph.D. in Theatre History and Criticism with a graduate certificate in Women’s Studies from the University of Maryland, College Park.


Courses Taught

  • 90-739 - Systems Synthesis I
  • 93-703 - Arts Enterprises: Structures and Strategies
  • 93-811 - Performing Arts Operations
  • 93-815 - Audience Engagement and User-Experience Design
  • 93-821 - External Relations: Arts Marketing and PR
  • 93-830 - Technologies Transforming the Arts
  • 94-843 - Research Studio: Arts Management and Technology

In The Media


Dr. Crawford's scholarship focuses on the practical and experiential, from technology to entrepreneurship.

Additional Information