When Junwei Zhang moved to Canada at 18 years old, she spent much of her time in galleries and museums. It was her way of connecting with her new country and its culture.
“Those visits made me realize that art is not just entertainment — it has the power to guide and inspire people,” she says. “I can’t sing, dance or paint, but I can bring out the good in these things to other people.”
That’s why she chose to enrol in MacEwan University’s Arts and Cultural Management program, which includes a field placement where students take the skills they’ve learned in the classroom into the real world. Zhang’s placement took her to the Royal Alberta Museum, where she studied museum and gallery management while coordinating volunteers and working in the Learning Collection Room. The behind-the-scenes experience helped Zhang secure a job at the museum in Kaifeng, China, that inspired her as a child.
“China has been paying more attention to its culture and history sectors, and my city has been given more funds to support the museum. It’s now a popular site. That’s the power of arts and cultural management.”
Brenda Lieberman also understands what effective arts and cultural management can do.
Before she co-founded the Calgary Underground Film Festival and became lead features programmer at the Calgary International Film Festival, Lieberman was introduced by MacEwan’s Arts and Cultural Management program to important parts of the creative industry that aren’t immediately visible — the administration, management, promotion and coordination that goes on behind the scenes. While Lieberman didn’t always know that film was her calling, her strengths — networking, research and organization skills, and a love of film — made her a natural fit for festival programming. “You don’t have to be a film major to work in and around film,” she says. “Festivals need people in marketing, fundraising and volunteer coordination.”
Lieberman’s success shows that even after earning a credential, there are many opportunities to continue learning and growing. For Charlotte Cranston, that means working toward a master’s degree.
It was the sense of community and opportunities for collaboration she saw while taking the MacEwan program that encouraged Cranston, Edmonton’s first Youth Poet Laureate, to get involved. She even found herself travelling to Montreal with six other students for a research project that had them interviewing artists and arts managers about accessibility and sustainability.
After that experience, she entered into her fourth year of a bachelor’s degree at Scotland’s Queen Margaret University in fall of 2019. “I have always wanted a degree — that was never a question,” says Cranston, who plans to continue on to a master’s degree.
Museums, movies and master’s degrees are just three of the many places an arts and cultural management diploma can lead. The program’s alumni have taken the skills they have learned in the classroom to gain incredible professional experiences — in theatre, radio, music, museums, galleries, cultural centres, festivals and more.
Get the practical skills and professional knowledge you need to nurture and support talented artists and lead creative communities —visit MacEwan.ca/ArtsManagement.
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