Olaf Kuhlke

Professional Title
Associate Professor

I am an educator and entrepreneur with a passion for promoting the creative and cultural economy as an economic development tool. For as long as I can remember, I have been interested in human mobility. I study why and how people walk, dance, and move from place to place, over short distances and across countries and continents. Most importantly, I look at the cultural, social and economic contexts and impacts of such moves. At UMD, I have called the Department of Geography and Philosophy my home since 2002. I have taught courses in both the geography and cultural entrepreneurship programs, and I continue to do research in geography and entrepreneurship.

As a cultural geographer, I have written about international migration, large-scale dance festivals and their place in national and local discourse, the representation of national identity in Canadian popular music, the global diffusion of dance practices, and the places of Freemasonry in the United States. Most recently, I have been a passionate advocate for the establishment of cultural entrepreneurship as an academic discipline and practice, and have written about the theoretical foundations of this new form of entrepreneurship emerging out of the liberal arts.

As Founding Director of the B.A. Program in Cultural Entrepreneurship at UMD, I have been instrumental in leading the curriculum design for this new degree. In addition, I am currently engaged in establishing international research, teaching and student exchange connections for this program. I teach introductory courses on Creative Industries that focus on lean start-up methodology, development of business model canvases for creative industries, and creative problem solving techniques, along with story telling and value discovery in the cultural industries. I conduct research on the role and potential of cultural and creative products and services in promoting economic development, specifically in rural and remote regions of North America.

Research Keywords: Cultural Entrepreneurship, Creative Economy, Indigenous Arctic Communities, Digital Technology, Entrepreneurship Education.

Courses Taught 

CUE 1001 Culture Industry and Creative Economy 

CUE 4003 Entrepreneurial Ethics 

MLS 8501 Men, Masculinities and Society 

GEOG 2313 Economic Geography 

GEOG 4803 Geographic Thought 

ES 4612 Field Techniques 

Recent Publications 

Kuhlke, Olaf. 2017. Education for the Creative Economy. In: Kooyman, R. et al. (Editors). United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Creative Economy Report 2016. Chapter 2.1.8. Accepted and forthcoming in 2017.

Kuhlke, Olaf. 2016. The Aurelius Exercise: Self-Examination and Value Exploration in an introductory Cultural Entrepreneurship course. Experiential Entrepreneurship Exercises Journal 2 (1).

Kuhlke, Olaf; Schramme, Annick and Kooyman, Rene (Editors). 2015. Creating Cultural Capital: Cultural Entrepreneurship in Theory, Pedagogy and Practice. Eburon Publishers (Delft, NL).

Kuhlke, Olaf and Pine, Adam M. (Editors). 2014. Global Movements: Dance, Place and Hybridity. Lanham, MD: Lexington Press.

Kuhlke, Olaf. 2014. Anti-Masonry, Massachusetts State Law and the Building of the Boston Masonic Temple. Heredom: Transactions of the Scottish Rite Research Society 22, 1-46.

Kuhlke, Olaf. 2014. “Developing Cultural and Creative Industry (CCI) Competencies in North American Knowledge Institutions: Making the Case for a B.A. Program in Cultural Entrepreneurship”. In Schramme, A., Kooyman, R. and G. Hagoort (Eds.), Beyond Frames: Dynamics between the creative industries, knowledge institutions and the urban context. Delft: Eburon, pp 242-250.

Pine, Adam M. and Kuhlke, Olaf (Editors). 2013. Geographies of Dance: Body, Movement and Corporeal Negotiations. Lanham, MD: Lexington Press.

Donaldson, D. and Kuhlke, Olaf. 2009. “Jules Verne’s Around the World In 80 Days: Helping Teach the National Geographic Standards”. Journal of Geography 108 (2), p. 39-46.

Kuhlke, Olaf. 2009. “The Geography of ‘Canadian Shield Rock’: Locality, nationality and place imagery in the music of The Rheostatics”. In: Thomas Bell and Ola Johannson (Eds.), Sound, Society and the Geography of Music. Farnham, UK and Burlington, VT: Ashgate, p. 161-180.