Adjustments and New Experiences

I am Michelle Ferreira, in the second semester of the Arts Management program. I have my undergraduate degree in Music Administration from The University of Western Ontario. My main interest is in Marketing and Communications for the arts. As Lauren Davies has discussed earlier, we are making the decisions for where we want our practicum to be and over the past three weeks I’ve made contact with my prospective practicum site the Stratford Shakespeare Festival.

We have now entered in week three of the winter semester of the Arts Management program and the grace period is officially over. Assignments are becoming due, readings are piling up, and the excitement for the practicum is growing more and more as the days pass.  The energy is quite noticeable in our classes. Some students have confirmed their own places while others are making their initial contacts. It is very clear that the practicum conversation is at the forefront of everybody’s minds. After having the same classes with the other eight ladies in the Arts Management program, it is interesting to see what interests them and share advice and opinions with each other about their practicum choices. Being able to build a relationship with our classmates is definitely a benefit of this program that I have never experienced before.

Our close-knit group has become accustomed to having courses with just the nine of us in the room. But now we are in courses that are highly relevant for the entire not-for-profit sector, so as a result, three of our five courses are held in combination with the Not-For-Profit Management group. Jokingly, we decided to keep our pact and sit on opposite sides of the room from the Not-For-Profit group. But, knowing our personalities, this did not actually happen. Having the Not-For-Profit Management students in the classroom adds a view on many topics that our arts industry oriented minds may not have considered. Their contributions are quite valuable in class discussions. Also, they like to bring cookies and other goodies to class and share with everyone! My experience has gone further as I and two other Arts Management students are working with two Not-For-Profit Management students in a group project that is quite large. This project is for our Event Management course where we are required to run an actual event (with real guests and everything!) for an organization of our choice. Our group is musically oriented having two of us come from the Don Wright Faculty of Music at Western and one from the music program at UofT. We decided to run an event for Orchestra London. We were able to meet with Orchestra London’s Executive Director, Joe Swan, and discuss ideas about our event in order to build a pitch for him in two weeks. What an experience! Not only in this course do we meet with great guest speakers who discuss real time issues and relevant topics to our industries, we get to work in collaboration with them and create an event that is thrown in hopes to positively enhance their organization in some way.

Another benefit to this program is the many different experiences we will have that we may never have been exposed to otherwise. A couple of examples come from my Foundational Planning for the Arts taught by Andrea Halwa, Executive Director for the London Arts Council. For starters, in lieu of a textbook, we are going to have a day trip to Toronto to meet up with the creators of Work in Culture and with other influential industry leaders. Also, Andrea has made it possible for the class to attend a cultural planning session held by a consulting firm. These are extremely beneficial opportunities that will expose us to many different aspects of the arts industry that is not found in a textbook. Thank you Andrea!

My experience with the Arts Management program has been incredible so far and I look forward to experience the remainder of the program. If you are a prospective student and have any questions about this program please don’t hesitate to contact me at mferrei9@uwo.ca.

Thanks for reading!

Michelle Ferreira

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