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Arts Management MA: Focus on employability

With 100% employment rate for arts management students after graduating, our students go on to many different and exciting careers within the industry.

In 2019, for example, our graduates went on to jobs ranging from the Managing Director of Iceland’s Symphony Orchestra, to the Artistic and Music Co-ordinator of Opera San Jose, California, and from the Production Assistant at Sonia Friedman Productions, to Casting Assistant at Welsh National Opera.

The Arts Management course

'This course is unique because of its vocational focus. It means we develop resilient, work-ready graduates that can succeed in a fast paced and ever-changing industry.

Employability is at the heart of the programme, and we’re really proud we’ve had a 100% employment rate for students straight after graduating, since 2013.

We work with more than thirty partner organisations as well our own arts centre and College staff to offer high quality, mentored work-based learning opportunities that run alongside training in a unique conservatoire environment.'
Karen PimbleyHead of Arts Management

The course is very flexible and there are lots of different pathways through the training, from studying full-time over one year, to part-time, which usually takes place over two years, but can be spread over up to five years.

The set of Wonder of the World

Students who already have experience of working in the arts can use this as credits to shorten their learning journey.

Sara Treble-Parry came to study arts management at the College straight after finishing her fine art degree at Cardiff Met.

'I knew that my original degree didn’t make me hugely employable, and I wanted to fast-track my career path.

I knew about the amazing employment rate at College and wanted to add another string to my bow.'
Sara Treble-Parry

Having studied music here, Daisy Cooksley went on to work as a Graduate Music Assistant before realising that she wanted to consolidate her skills and think about her next career steps.

'I loved organising and managing the ensembles in my job and so decided to focus on that by coming back to study arts management here. I really want to go into orchestral management so it feels like the right move to come back.

The atmosphere is amazing and it feels like I never left!'
Daisy Cooksley

Here’s Daisy talking about the arts management course in a video made by Sara Treble-Parry during her marketing placement.

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Sofi Nowell is studying part-time. She’s an independent producer of experimental visual arts and music projects, working as a tour and artists manager in the music industry.

Having previously been at circus school, a dancer and worked in performance art she’d already got lots of experience of promoting the arts. She joined the course because she wanted to take her career forward and learn about fund-raising among other things:

'This course has been life-changing for me, opening doors I didn’t even know existed!'
Sofi Nowell

Working in close partnership with the industry ensures the students have training that’s both current and relevant.

'Students network from day one and because their experience at RWCMD is so immersive, they leave with a bundle of practical skills and relevant experience that makes them highly sought after by employers.'
Karen Pimbley

Sara adds, 'As the course is only a year, it really has to pack everything in. The first term we have lectures and assessments, including a group project and a presentation where we have to do a dummy fund-raising pitch to a real company. Last year someone did so well they actually GOT the funding for a production!'

We cover all the practical aspects of what you might have to do in your job, for example, in a small organisation that might include anything from fundraising, marketing and curating, to producing, finance, and general management.

We have some phenomenal lecturers. I particularly liked finding out about the psychology of management from the marketing manager of Cardiff’s New Theatre.

In our management lectures we also learn about things like building effective teams, ethics, good governance, creative sector leadership and resilience and alternative business modelling.'

'I was really attracted to the course by the work based placements, the practical assessments and the industry based speakers.

Also, because it’s a music and drama conservatoire I’m able to collaborate with different creative students.'
Sofi Nowell

The course brings together all kinds of people from different backgrounds so we all bring different strengths and skill-sets to our discussions which is really exciting.'

Sára Neužilová, who originally hails from the Czech Republic, studied theatre and film at Bristol before coming to study at the College: 'We’ve just started a finance module and surprisingly as someone who doesn’t like talking about money, I love it! It’s just so enjoyable.'

Jazz musician Gilad Hekselman working with students

The placements

Students undertake two professional work placements: one part-time in Spring term and one full-time during the Summer term. Placements provide opportunities to develop and apply skills in a mentored, professional environment.

'Initial placements in our arts centre give people a chance to find their footing.

Our focus is on development of the individual at this stage, so we have a great mentoring scheme that runs alongside the placement programme. For example, if someone has no prior arts experience or is not sure about what roles they are interested in, it gives them a chance to try things out in a secure environment.

We work to ensure that those students begin to emerge as arts professionals in the spring term and then transition fully into industry during the summer.'
Karen Pimbley

Sara is currently on a Spring placement with the marketing team: 'The internal placements run on a part-time basis alongside lectures. It’s great as RWCMD is an arts centre as well as a college so there are loads of opportunities to be involved.

I’ve found it a good middle ground between work and being a student, because you’re still coming to College. We have regular action-learning sessions where we can reflect and discuss how our work is going and how useful it is. It helps us decide which direction we want to go in for our final industry placement and our future careers.'

'I love the collaborative nature of the College, with music and drama students mixing and working together.

I think it’s important for the students to take up all the opportunities the College offers, whether it’s working in its arts centre or being part of different projects like REPCo, or even just seeing all the amazing shows on offer here! They’ll probably not get another opportunity like it.'
Sára Neužilová

Iain Fraser-Barker is on an orchestral management placement: 'I’ve come from a background of musical performance and it’s really great to see behind the scenes by managing an entire orchestra.

I’ve also been able to apply the skills I’ve learned on the course into real-life situations which has been incredibly useful.'

Sofi’s placement has involved working on outreach projects with third year students and primary schools within the Jazz department.

'It’s been life-affirming and amazing,' she said.

The course boasts a full range of partners that students can work with for their extended industry placement in the summer term, with everything from small touring companies to national organisations, producing and presenting venues, and representing just about every performing arts genre.

They can cover a wide range of opportunities and interests and have previously been at The Hallé Orchestra, National Dance Company Wales, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Edinburgh Festival and Jamie Wilson Productions in the West End.

'Our external partners have a positive ongoing dialogue with the course team to develop suitable placement opportunities each year as well as engaging with the course as specialist visitors.
Sometimes, students go into a placement and then stay with the organisation.

Partners also actively recruit from our course when job opportunities become available.'
Karen Pimbley

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