Arts and Cultural Management student Ashton Burns adjusts a painting while on a field placement at the Carrot Community Arts Coffeehouse.
Students learn about and contribute to arts and cultural organizations across Canada
The closer students get to the end of their program, the more their thoughts gravitate to landing the perfect job. But for students in the Arts and Cultural Management program, going into “job mode” starts early.
The program’s mandatory 280-hour field placement is a chance for students to take the skills they’ve learned in the classroom into the real world. It’s also a chance for many to stretch their wings—this spring and summer, students are in placements from Vancouver, B.C. to the Gaspé Peninsula.
“We’ve had students go to some really interesting places that span all kinds of arts and cultural areas over the years—from record companies and festivals to museums, theatres and galleries,” says Rose Ginther, associate professor and chair of the Arts and Cultural Management program.
The program is offered both on campus and online, so field placements often happen in the place a student already calls home, but sometimes it’s a chance to test the waters further afield.
Tim Richard—who is currently in the midst of his placement with the Alliance for Arts and Culture and B.C. Culture Days—is one of those.
“I took this program knowing that I wanted to move to Vancouver afterwards, so when it came time for my field placement, I focused on organizations on the west coast,” says Tim. “I’ve always been passionate about the arts, but I didn’t want to bank my entire livelihood on the creative process, so this is perfect for me.”
Anthony Guitard, who is completing his field placement on the opposite side of the country, agrees. His placement is a perfect blend of several of his interests—blacksmithing, visual art and history.
“I initially thought about doing my placement in a gallery, but I got involved in a living history group and my focus turned to historical sites and museums,” explains Anthony.
Today he’s at Duthie Point in New Richmond, Quebec, home to 24 historic buildings used to recount the history of settlers in the area. Anthony is spending his placement developing an exhibit for their blacksmith shop—curating the exhibit, developing information panels, developing the shop and creating a plan for future development.
“It’s been incredible,” says Anthony. “It’s giving me the first-hand experience I need to stretch my legs and put into practice what I learned in class. It’s also a chance to offer some fresh ideas and contribute something that will stay at the site and last a long time.”
Rose Ginther says that Anthony and Tim’s placements are great examples of how students aren’t the only ones who benefit from field placements
“Students are working in positions that can add a lot to these organizations,” she says. “For very small organizations, those 280 hours provide the chance to complete a special project, fundraiser or education program that would never otherwise happen. We see field placements as great partnerships during which both the students and the organizations benefit.”
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