A business beacon for the creative industry
It is no secret that raw talent abounds in Jamaica. The Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts (EMCVPA) has, since 1970, been a beacon of hope for those wishing to hone those talents through one of their schools – dance, drama, art, and music. A fifth, lesser-known school at the college deals with the sterner side of the arts. The School of Arts Management and Humanities targets those who wish to tap into the business side of what is now a trillion-dollar worldwide, creative industry.
“It would have been a better picture 30 or 40 years ago if persons were trained to assist artists to take their arts to the market – to promote, to sell, to arrange contracts, and to protect their intellectual property,” Janice Gore, head of department at the School of Arts Management and Humanities, EMCVPA, told The Sunday Gleaner in an interview recently.
“As it is right now, that is what the arts-management programme is attempting to do in this new paradigm. Our students are trained and are sensitised to become artiste managers or to manage arts organisations,” Gore said.
The programme started in 2007 when the school was called the Faculty of Education and Liberal Studies. In 2010, it was renamed the School of Arts Management and Humanities, and it offers Jamaicans and non-Jamaicans the opportunity to read for either a degree (four years) or an associate degree (two years) in arts management.
The cadre of courses, as described by the school’s director of studies, Dr Anthea Octave, are intense, hands-on, and tailored to meet the requirements of the arts industry. Arts-management courses include accounts, intellectual property, of fundamentals to events planning, as well as research methods and financial management.
Through the humanities department, the school offers general education courses to students across the campus. Some of these courses, such as English and psychology, are compulsory.
Unlike the other schools that are practical-based, a goal of the school is to offer online classes. “Arts management is positioned to take on this [as] the nature of our courses provides for that. This will be done sooner than later,” said Octave.
Currently, it is being piloted internally, “so that when we roll it out, we are ready”.
Students Rebecca Samaroo, first year, and Zania Maxwell, final year, are pleased with the programme and the experiences that they have had. They are also interested in the fashion industry as well as the management aspect of the business.
Samaroo likes the idea of being exposed to different forms of the visual and performing arts. “As arts managers, you get an overview before specialising.”
However, the downside for her is that the programme carries more “bookwork” in comparison to the other schools.
Maxwell said, “ the mere fact that you are surrounded by the other creative schools is inspiring.” She sees arts management as “representing someone and wanting the best for someone”.
The Black River High School graduate also wants to advance the local creative industry in the global market space. Her plans include reading for her master’s in digital media marketing, a decision based on her love for marketing and her second-year course, Introduction to Arts Marketing.