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Deakin’s Arts and Cultural Management program turns 30

Deakin Business School’s Arts and Cultural Management program is marking a significant milestone this year, celebrating an incredible 30 years since its first student intake in semester 2, 1993.

This impressive 30-year run makes this Master of Business course one of the longest running arts management programs in Australia. Course director Dr Anne Kershaw, says there are three factors that she believes make the course so unique in Australia.   

  1. The course’s history and the fact that it’s so well-established: “At 30 years, we've got a lot of teaching experience and subject curriculum expertise under our belts,” says Dr Kershaw. “We've also got now the most wonderful pool of alumni from the course and an outstanding course Advisory Board, so our industry networks, the supporters of the program are really strong, and it's longevity is based on the strength of the program.

  2. Being based Deakin Business School: "We provide our graduates with a tailored business education” she says. “So they will have an undergraduate degree, or they will have trained in some kind of form of creative practice, and then we teach them how to be arts managers. So it's all the business practice, the business skills, the business attributes we give students. 

  3. Being offered 100% online: “We have students across the whole of Australia,” says Dr Kershaw. “We've got so many students in Western Australia at the moment, and students in Darwin, Queensland, New South Wales – all across the country. But what’s really important is that we can attract students from regional and remote locations too. And, because the course is offered fully online, students don't have to leave their communities. They don't have to leave their workplaces, they don't have to dislocate from families to study with us. And it’s the local arts and cultural focus that gives that social connection between people. Creative industries can really underpin the local regional development the local economies. It also means that our students are likely to be engaged in arts and cultural programming that's authentic and distinctive because it will be grounded in a local community or in a local region. 

Students who have studied Deakin’s Master of Business (Arts and Cultural Management) have gone on to work in visual arts, heritage, performing arts and literature – both around Australia and overseas. 

Dr Kershaw says the edge these students have, and the contribution they make to the arts and cultural industry is their business-focused education.

“We give our students a business education, and part of that is looking at how the sector becomes economically sustainable – but also socially sustainable and culturally sustainable,” she says. 

“I think that's one of the benefits of our studies being in a business school is that we think about the full range of impact from arts, culture and creative industries, and the benefit of a post-grad education like this is that it trains people for their future careers. Our students are exposed to a range of different ideas, different theories, different case studies, different sectors, networking with people across the country, and it opens people's ideas to being more dynamic in their practice and being more innovative in what they do. 

“So it's opening people's capacity to be leaders and arts managers into the future – not just to become expert as things currently are, but to build and lead the future of the sector.”

Some of Deakin’s illustrious alumni had this to say about the Arts and Cultural Management program. 

A huge congratulations to Deakin University on the 30th year anniversary of the Arts and Cultural Management program. My study in this program was the pivotal factor in securing my path from professional dancer to artistic director. A testament to the quality and reputation of this Deakin program gave The Australian Ballet the confidence to employ a very new graduate as the Artistic Director, an extremely high-profile position in the Australian Arts landscape. What I gained from the course was a fantastic foundation for that role and continued to inform my 20-year tenure and still continues to underpin my working life.   

David McAllister, Former Australian Ballet Artistic Director 

Deakin’s Arts and Cultural Management course was a defining moment in my career development. I had always found myself drawn to organising roles in creative projects, but the course helped me understand that arts management was its own unique and diverse field. I now work in arts philanthropy and draw on my knowledge from the course every day as I work with our grantee organizations to drive positive impact. 

I’m from Western Australia, where there are no local post-graduate arts management courses. The flexibility of Deakin’s online learning enabled me to leap into post-graduate study without having to relocate. Allowing arts workers to expand their skill set while remaining embedded in their communities is essential to building strong administrative capacity outside of the major East Coast cities. 

Imogen Castledine, Arts and Culture Officer at Minderoo Foundation, WA

The Master of Business in Arts & Cultural Management course helped me consolidate a lot of my experience and knowledge through some current, practical information, tools and resources that improved the way I operate, built my networks in the creative industries sector across Australia and provided some great opportunities to share experiences and learn from others also working in the sector. The flexibility and online access to the course made it easy to juggle a full-time job and a family. The lecturers were so supportive, challenged our thinking and built upon the group discussions as further learning opportunities. This course is a very useful practical course for anyone wanting to learn how to become an arts manager, or refresh and renew your skills and knowledge and get a great insight into current trends, resources and issues.

Tracey-Lea Smith, Coordinator Arts & Cultural Development at the City of Greater Geelong


Learn more about the Master of Business (Arts and Cultural Management) here.



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