This term I’m teaching “Arts & Culture Marketing” at the European School of Economics, a small private business school with a program in Florence that is accredited by the University of Buckingham (UK). It’s the first time I’m teaching something other than a variation of Renaissance art history and I’m enjoying the fact that it’s very practical. The material I’m teaching is based on work experience in the marketing sector as well as years of research on and interest in museum marketing. It’s a wonderful opportunity to learn alongside my students by reading the excellent body of articles available in this field for which I really needed an excuse like this.
I think the students also appreciate the practical aspect of the course since they are postgraduates with degrees in general arts fields who are taking this certificate course in order to direct them towards the workplace. My goal is to give them all the background knowledge they need to go work in the marketing and communications department of a museum, art gallery, auction house, theatre etc. I am realizing that in a 12 week course I will not be able to prepare them fully with material I’ve gathered over the years, but I hope to give them a taste of all the key elements – it’ll be up to them to develop these further through their own research, which they will do if they are really interested.
A practical approach in this field means keeping it current. I managed to find an excellent book published in 2010 from which they are doing some readings (see cover photo above), but otherwise almost all the reading material comes from ebooks and industry blogs. For the latter I’ve created a public netvibes that I’ve told the students to monitor weekly (are they doing it? i’m not sure). I also created a course blog where I try to keep track of my reflections as I read in this topic, but more importantly where the students are encouraged to post (okay, forced: it’s an assignment for grades). Being familiar with the basics of RSS readers and wordpress blogs is essential in today’s business world as enlightened companies encourage employees to keep on top of competitors’ news, if not to write about it. The blog also gets them thinking about original content production, which is one of the key words of 2011 and something in which major companies like AOL are now willing to invest hundreds of millions of dollars (with the purchase of Huff Post).
Being the first time round for this course, it – and I – am open to change. The school hopes to develop this certificate program further so next term we hope to have more students, and I’ll be using this term’s feedback to improve both the content and the way I impart it.