Photo: Annamari Oittinen
Duo Valtonen & Kotila: Juho Valtonen and Aleksi Kotila

The first 20 years of Arts Management studies were celebrated on 9th November

The Arts Management master’s programme in the University of the Arts Helsinki’s Sibelius Academy celebrates its first 20 years in 2017. To celebrate this jubilee the department organized a seminar on 9 November in the Theatre Academy. Over 60 students and alumni from the master’s programme gathered to share memories from their university years and to converse about the current news and future of the field.

The founder of the programme Osmo Palonen, the rector of Uniarts Helsinki Jari Perkiömäki, and the faculty dean Elina Laakso gave their congratulations in a guest event. Professor and head of the Arts Management department Tanja Johansson gave a presentation about the jubilee publication presented in the seminar, Making Sense of Arts Management: Research, Cases and Practices.

As a part of the seminar, four arts management alumni spoke about their work in a panel discussion moderated by Osmo Palonen. Samu Forsblom, Head of Events in the city of Oulu, says that a part of being a professional arts manager is to show others why our society needs culture in general. “Culture has great immaterial value for cities”, Forsblom reminds.

Fifteen new students begin their master’s programme every other year and they form a very tight community together. Claire Delholm, Partnerships and Fundraising Coordinator in the World Village Festival, looks back on her years in the Arts Management master’s programme and says that one of the things the studies have taught her is how to cooperate with people from different backgrounds. It has proven to be a very useful skill in the working life of an arts manager.

Samu Forsblom, Heidi Lehmuskumpu, Kari Jagt, Claire Delholm and Osmo Palonen.

Managing the art of the future

Arts Management studies have developed greatly during the past 20 years. Palonen posed the question how the teaching could be improved even more. Heidi Lehmuskumpu, Development Manager in the Finnish National Opera and Ballet, suggested emphasizing the teaching of financing knowledge and adding more practical work in the culture sector’s organizations.

Most of the master’s programme’s alumni present in the seminar have found employment in different kinds of businesses, but some of them also work in the public sector or in different organizations.

“Arts Management alumni can find a job also in other sectors than culture”, says Kari Jagt, the artistic director of Finnish Hospital Clowns Association which works in the health services.

Arts Management master’s programme lecturer Violeta Simjanovska concluded the seminar with a workshop about the big turning points in the field.

“The line between high culture and entertainment is fading away and it influences our daily work already”, Simjanovska says.

A topic brought up in the public discussion of the seminar was the question of the possibilities Big Data can offer for art management professionals. An artistic process can, at times, be unpredictable both in smaller and in larger events. The job of the arts management professional is to make the project as predictable as possible. Data about ticket buyers and the event’s audience can support the professional’s work and help them succeed.

Lecturer Violeta Simjanovska ja professor Tanja Johansson.