Can you share a bit about the exciting work you are doing now?
I am officially half way through my Masters program in Scotland. I am on my way to earning my MA in Arts, Festival, and Cultural Management at Queen Margaret University in Scotland. I am preparing for my dissertation, which I will be starting officially in May. My goal is to work with an Arts organization in Scotland to reflect upon their strategic plan and structural changes presented by the impact of Covid-19. Although, there is plenty of room for this change and growth! My courses right now include a Program Management and Financial Planning for the sector, and a year long course of Arts Management in Practice.
How has your classroom experience and Arts Management certificate helped in your new career?
I worked with Dee and Terre as part of the AES Arts Entrepreneurship Initiative. The experience I gained from the internship, paired with the coursework, provided a space for the theory and frameworks to be demonstrated in a workplace setting. Through both the courses and internship, I was able to grow significantly with regards to my professional being and understanding of the arts sector.
Since I transitioned directly into a Master’s program, having the foundations from the courses presented in the AES course definitely provided exceptional support towards the program and understanding of the theory utilized. Without the AES certificate courses, I would never have dared to embark upon a program abroad in the arts sector.
Who inspires your personal creativity and passion?
It has become an ongoing bit within the QMU program that I am the one non-artist student in the course. Granted, it is a blanket statement, but the course is meant to teach people how to become cultural and artistic managers within the field. Therefore, my definition is a bit different than an artist. My goal is to create platforms that provide support to both artists and the community. I take inspiration from social workers and nonprofit managers. I worked back in the states with Neighborworks whose Site Coordinator was a massive inspiration. She believed in me and gave me space to create programming for the students while creating connections within the community. Often, the people that identify with these characteristics are behind the scenes and incredibly busy.
What initially interested you in AES classes and who would you recommend taking AES classes?
I was doing a BDIC major, and starting to stress about finding courses that truly aligned with what I wanted. There was a day when I was searching for classes to take and clicking through each major/department and scrolling through the class offerings. Luckily, AES is towards the top alphabetically. I saw the Introduction to Arts Management and the brief synopsis and knew that it was what I was looking for. I began to dig deeper and googled the department. On the website, I learned about the certificate. The certificate was exactly what I was looking for to support the major I was building.
If you have any interest in the arts, taking the Introduction course will be vital to the understanding of the sector. The sector is constantly changing, and having a foundational knowledge sets an individual apart in the field. The courses employ real life opportunities and examples to parallel the learning and the implementation. As tough as a group project can be, the course provides spaces for groups to work with real arts organizations in the Pioneer Valley, and I believe that was vital to my education.
The program is also small compared to many UMass departments. In my other major, I constantly had different people and professors and it was difficult to form connections, both socially and professionally. At AES, the courses are small and there is space to engage with both the Professors and students involved. This also means that the opportunities available are also tailored more intentionally towards the students in the program and interests.