05/10/2022

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Unpacking the Arts and Cultural Management Degree at WAAPA

4 min read
Unpacking the Arts and Cultural Management Degree at WAAPA

For in excess of 3 a long time, the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) at Edith Cowan University has made available formal instruction to potential arts managers, masking important places these kinds of as communications, promoting, regulation, finance, venture management, production, criticism, cultural coverage, leadership and entrepreneurship.

Notable alumni above the a long time incorporate Carolyn Chard AM (Government Director, West Australian Opera), Christina Erskine (Basic Manager Advertising, Sydney Opera House), Hilary McKenna (Creative Administrator, West Australian Ballet) and Natalie Oakes (Output Coordinator, We Are The Honest, London).

Simon O’Leary is one of WA’s major artist administrators and occasion producers

Simon “Skinny” O’Leary | credit history: Mitch Adore

In 2023, WAAPA will welcome the initially intake of college students to its new Bachelor of Arts (Arts and Cultural Management) degree. The diploma has been up-to-date to satisfy the transforming needs of the sector, specifically in regards to new technologies as very well as economic and cultural developments in nations throughout Asia.

Previous course graduate Simon “Skinny” O’Leary is a single of WA’s top artist professionals and celebration producers. O’Leary runs the administration, bookings and label entity, Sidequest, whose roster has involved bands these kinds of as Sly Withers, Aged Mervs, Ursula, Flossy and Statues. O’Leary’s also held administration roles at the City of Swan’s HyperFest and the yearly WAMFest.

In 2006, O’Leary enrolled in WAAPA’s Arts Management system. As a teenager in the south west WA town of Margaret River, O’Leary was involved in the neighborhood Youth Advisory Council organising all-ages gigs. He worked for the council for a 12 months among superior faculty and his tertiary experiments, but he knew very little about the broader market.

“When I concluded school I knew I desired to go and get some working experience somewhere and the Arts Administration study course ticked all the packing containers,” he suggests.

As very well as the course’s educational rewards, O’Leary was amazed by the course’s sector placement component, which supplied on-the-ground business knowledge. This led to an unexpected specialist deviation, but 1 that informs O’Leary’s technique to this working day.

“I’d been working in tunes in a variety of kinds given that I was 15,” O’Leary states, “but for my secondment in 3rd calendar year, I made a decision I needed to discover how to get money. So I went and did my secondment at Bell Shakespeare Company in Sydney, in the Sponsorship & Philanthropy Division, to study the trade.

“That steered me in a various way and I ended up operating in Country Arts for five a long time. I managed a grants system as very well as excursions. Then I circled back again to the songs sector following that.”

While O’Leary experienced come into WAAPA as a new music-obsessed, gig-likely fanatic, the education and learning he received on the administrative aspects of the leisure industry proved invaluable.

“You get a wide sufficient stage of expertise about accounting and copyright law and all that kind of stuff, so when it does comes up, you are not an specialist but you are not concerned of it,” he claims. “I experience that people today who are beginning out in the arts sector with no this degree kind of know their thing and which is it. Being capable to know a small bit about anything is a superior self-assurance booster.”

He adds, “What I also took away from it was how to consider outside the house of the organisation and the endeavor that you are executing – to be ready to appear at a answer and figure out troubles by looking at it from unique angles.”

Simon ‘Skinny’ O’Leary on Arts Administration at WAAPA

Considering that finishing his degree additional than a decade in the past, O’Leary has sustained a fruitful and constructive career in the music and are living amusement sector. “The way that I uncovered how to regulate – from the genuine administration aspect of the degree – actually has aided literally each and every factor of my profession,” he states. “From managing volunteers at a competition to functioning in a youth growth workforce at Metropolis of Swan to handling bands now.

“Being ready to check with someone to do a little something in a way that makes them want to do it is a good issue and also becoming able to keep in mind a bunch of people motivational factors just assists day-to-working day.

“[WAAPA is] the very best location to begin your journey into the arts since it has all your bases covered.”

2023 enrolments for the WAAPA’s a few-calendar year Bachelor of Arts (Arts and Cultural Administration) degree are open up now.  Edith Cowan University/WAAPA are also web hosting an Open up Working day on Sunday, August 21. 

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