This is part two of my end-of-semester reflections on my Arts Administration ‘Intro’ course.
What circumstances and conditions for learning work best for me – e.g. do I work best under pressure, or do I ONLY work under pressure?
You know what’s distracting to a student who has an assignment due? Everything! Food. Dishes. Cats. Facebook. The news. Making Christmas lists. Cleaning the bathroom. Netflix. Shall I go on? When you don’t have a desk and your laptop lives on the kitchen table, it’s surprisingly difficult to get work done. I worked best when no one else was home, or I was on campus in a quiet(er) environment. I definitely worked best under pressure, though it was much more pleasant when I forced myself to get work done early. This was much more likely to happen if it was a group project and we had set our own due date – no one wants to be THAT person who doesn’t have their stuff ready in time. I definitely procrastinated more on the individual assignments when I only answered to myself!
What have I learned about arts management that has been unexpected or surprising?
I think the sheer variety of different things an arts manager has to think about (pretty much every aspect of business management) has been most surprising. I am so impressed by the staff at small arts organizations, who are constantly doing eighteen jobs at once, and it’s a little daunting to think of working somewhere and having to know how to do all of those eighteen things!
What has been my most valuable learning experience in this course, and why is that?
In this course, I really enjoyed when speakers would come in and talk about their work. It was always great to hear about how people got to their current positions – it gave us all hope that we would be employed one day! I would say, however, that volunteering for Arts Day on the Hill was the most valuable because it was out in the real world – helping an actual arts organization do real work! Plus learning about something I had no experience in previously was fun. Being on Parliament Hill was fun and very different for me. Even working a 13-hour day was fun, because it was exciting to be part of a big event.
What remains for me to investigate about arts management, and how do I intend to pursue these areas beyond graduation?
What remains for me to investigate? Everything! Discussing things in the classroom is all well and good but this is the sort of field that you really learn on the job. You can’t really learn how to write a grant, or cultivate donors, or create a special event, or figure out a cash-flow analysis until you have to do it in “real life”. We learn tools and tips to help us along the way, but you never know what the situation will be like in an actual work setting. Beyond graduation I hope to have a good amount of skills under my belt from my two placements to make me a good candidate to find a job in Toronto’s cultural sector. I haven’t been very good at keeping up my volunteering in the past few years so I hope to continue learning that way as well once I have finished the program. Continuing education courses, in fields like fundraising, or the OMA‘s museum courses, may be helpful in getting more specific skills.