Although Simone Schinkel’s undergraduate degree provided her with the skills she needed as a production and stage manager, she was looking for more formal qualification in arts management.
‘I had lots of on-the-job experience but I thought that by undertaking a master’s degree I could consolidate my experience and also expand my networks, skills and learning,’ she explains.
Until recently returning from maternity leave, Simone has been producer and general manager at KAGE, a dance theatre company based in Melbourne.
‘My role was to complete end-to-end project management of all company productions. This covered fundraising, logistic and operational management, marketing and audience development. I’ve overseen the realisation of six brand new productions, toured four productions multiple times and secured twenty presentation opportunities,’ she says.
Now juggling parenthood with her career, Simone has recently returned to work as KAGE’s business development manager and says there are many rewards working for the company.
‘Many of my colleagues have turned into close life-long friends. We work in an industry where it is not just a job, but a passion, and while this balance can be hard on our lives, it makes for a large network of likeminded, all-round great people.’
The decision to undertake postgraduate study is often a significant one and Simone says there were two deciding factors when it came to choosing Deakin: flexibility and industry reputation.
‘Firstly, as the course was online it allowed me to continue working full-time while studying. The other reason was Deakin was the university that I saw engaging with the sector at events, undertaking research, and collaborating with industry partners. I knew that its teaching would be the most current, relevant and well-respected by my peers and possible future employers.’
For her strong academic achievement and contribution to the industry, Simone was awarded David McAllister Arts and Entertainment Management scholarship which provided her with assistance to study.
She was also appointed student representative on the Deakin Arts and Cultural Management Advisory Board, and since graduation, has continued as a board member and industry representative.
Simone credits Deakin’s arts management lecturers Hilary Glow and Anne Kershaw as inspiring.
‘They were engaging, stimulating, organised and just really good at their jobs. They inspired me to learn. Their ongoing contribution to the industry continues to impress me,’ she says.
Through the course, she has been able to expand her industry networks and says this has provided her with career benefits and strengths.
‘I have joined a remarkable group of alumni who are leading the arts in this country. On a personal level I have also gained a new level of confidence in both my chosen career path and capabilities.’
In the future, Simone would like move her career into ‘programming’ which will allow her to tackle more of the creative decisions. She says she would also love the opportunity to share her skills with other sectors and believes there is much that can be learned from the arts.
‘The skills gained in the arts are amazingly transferable. We are amazing with extremely limited resources, can realise big ideas, and we know how to engage with a huge diversity of stakeholders. If other sectors are interested, there’s a lot we’re able to offer.’