A unique partnership with Linden New Art - a contemporary gallery in the heart of St Kilda - is giving students from our Master of Arts and Cultural Management and Master of Art Curatorship programs an experience of industry life.
Twenty students from two graduate Arts courses are currently taking part in a new student engagement program at Linden New Art - a series of 17 sessions tailored to grow the practical skills students need to progress a career in the arts.
Sessions include lectures and workshops delivered by Linden New Art's team of curators, art administrators and communications professionals, as well as working industry practitioners. They explore the full breadth of the industry, from installing works to marketing an exhibition, working with funding bodies and collaborating with artists.
"The great opportunity offered by Linden is that it's an extended program where they can test their skills and engage with industry practitioners on an ongoing basis", she said. "It's an evolving experience in which the different workshops build upon each other."
Linden New Art is a not-for-profit gallery that exhibits local and international work with a focus on new contemporary art by mid-career artists. Their range of exhibitions, events and workshops - all housed in a converted Victorian mansion just a stone's throw from Luna Park - is proving to be the perfect setting for students to continue their learning outside the classroom.
"The beauty of a contemporary art space is they're smaller, they're all very active, all the staff work closely with each other," said Inglis. "The students taking part in those types of enrichment experiences get the full range of activities and gain insight into a variety of different positions."
Director of Linden New Art and University of Melbourne alumna Melinda Martin has worked in the industry for almost two decades. She understands the kind of skills that graduates need to develop as they transition from tertiary education to a successful career in the art world.
"I think for me there's that really nice realisation between the importance of what you learn academically and that hands-on experience of when you're out there in a job - the importance of being able to have a whole range of other skills," she said.
The benefits are also flowing both ways.
"I think for us it's just as exciting having a new group of students asking us questions and challenging things or being curious about why we do things in certain ways," said Martin.
"And I think that's just as good for us to stop and pause and think about whether we're doing it as best we could."
For the students taking part, the experience is a chance to step outside the classroom and learn from working professionals.
Master of Art Curatorship student Coral Guan applied for the program so that she could "learn the real-world nitty-gritty of exhibition-making, exhibition proposals, grant application writing, public programming, and the day-to-day processes of arts management."
"It seemed like an extremely valuable opportunity to learn more about leadership in the arts community, and for future arts professionals such as myself to envision what the future may look like," she said.
Although it's still only early, the program is already beginning to build on Coral's knowledge.
"While classroom learning is important to build a strong theoretical and conceptual foundation of arts management knowledge, nothing beats being able to put your knowledge to the test within the field."