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"Prior to linking up with Peter the future was pretty much a blank canvas."

As an arts and cultural management student you could not imagine a better glimpse into the business and non-for-profit sector than through a mentor like Peter Lamell, President of the Lorne Sculpture Biennale.

Now, through a unique agreement between Deakin and the Lorne Sculpture Biennale, Master of Arts and Cultural Management student Hamish Wilkinson has the opportunity to tap into Lamell’s business expertise as part of a twelve-month mentorship.

‘Prior to linking up with Peter the future was pretty much a blank canvas. Peter’s expertise comes from working for a number of companies ranging from major multi-nationals (including Shell International for over 25 years) to SMEs and the non-for-profit sector.

‘Peter and I will catch-up once a month over the next year and he has also invited me along to the AGM of the Lorne Sculpture Biennale as well as to a number of strategy meetings.  This will be a great opportunity to see how senior management works in a non-profit arts organisation.’

‘Towards the end of my degree, Peter will also help me with my career direction, resume, LinkedIn profile and employment strategy,’ Hamish says.

In the broader sense, Hamish hopes that the mentorship will assist him with his endeavours by having a highly experienced professional, with connections in the arts industry, help him build a strategy to achieve his goal of securing a marketing role.

‘The experience with the Lorne Sculpture Biennale will allow me to see how things work at a management level,’ he says.  

Hamish first started researching study options in the arts and events industry in 2013. This search led him to Deakin, where he started his first subject soon after.

‘The reasons I chose Deakin over other universities were several.  Firstly, the flexibility of being able to study online allows me study whilst continuing to work.  Secondly, connection to the industry was evident, as in researching the degree it was evident that Deakin had a true connection with industry. Thirdly, the core subjects offered were directly related to the type of work I was undertaking,’ he says.  

Finally, it was former CEO of Melbourne Fringe, Jane Lovelock, a real-life example of how one can benefit from Deakin’s then Master of Arts and Entertainment Management degree, who motivated him to make the choice.

Hamish’s favourite part of the Master of Arts and Cultural Management thus far has been the subject Managing Cultural Projects and Events.

‘It gives you a complete overview of what you need to know to run an event and I was able to apply the knowledge gained and combine it with my real-world work.

‘One of the main areas of study was stakeholder management and to this day, I still find this to be one of the most important elements when running events.’

In terms of industry perspectives Hamish says that the arts industry has entered a very exciting era and believes it is not an overstatement to say that something is happening all the time.

‘Recently I was working on the Flight Facilities X Melbourne Symphony Orchestra event held at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl as part of the Melbourne Festival. The event was a sell out with 12 000 people attending. I don't think that this type of event would have been possible say 10-15 years ago,’ he says.

As corporations trial new ways to target their customers, coupled with more and more events looking to secure sponsorship, the way of the future seems to hold even more of a push towards merging marketing and stakeholder relationship management. 

‘The Deakin degree has already assisted, and will continue to assist my career. Not only has it helped me build some strong industry connections, but it has allowed me to gain a level of understanding in certain areas such as philanthropy, an areas I would not have otherwise seen,’ Hamish says.   

‘At this stage I would like to continue to work in the arts and events industry with my ultimate goal to become marketing director for a major festival.’

Professor Ruth Rentschler, Chair in Arts and Cultural Management at Deakin adds that mentoring provides students with access to networks and development of skills tailored to their needs at any particular time.

'Mentoring is ideal for students looking for a  career change and the plethora of opportunities available in the field of arts and cultural management, is also the reason why many students decide to take up study in this field.'