Who are our future cultural leaders?

As applications for the Master of Fine Arts in Cultural Leadership are closed, course leader Karlyn Brown talks about the future of Australia’s cultural leaders.

Above: Creative Meet Up – Networking night in the town of Ryde. (Photo: James Schulz for the city of Ryde)

What are the critical issues for leaders in the current cultural context?

The diversity of our cultural context is a dynamic and ever-changing reflection of who we are, the multiplicity of our voices and the creative expressions that express what is important to us as individuals, communities and societies.

In a rapidly disrupted world, we must not only embrace change, but also stimulate the influence and impact that arts and culture can have in solving critical problems.

Some of the pressing issues that require transformational modeling include:

  • Engage with First Nations cultural knowledge and practices, and create avenues for Indigenous-led platforms;
  • Address the climate crisis and implement radical changes and long-term sustainability in our practices;
  • Strengthen the diversity and intersectionality of creative voices and fundamentally shift to fully inclusive organizational and creative practices;
  • Support the independent sector – the cornerstone of the arts, practices and programs to support independent artists and creators;
  • Navigate the devastating impact of the COVID pandemic and create resilience and sustainability through innovation and changed practices; and
  • Implement more caring, safer and healthier work practices in the arts and culture sector.

What prompts people to take the NIDA MFA in Cultural Leadership course?

The course is designed specifically for those who already have active roles in the arts and culture sector. It provides an inclusive, safe and dynamic learning environment for those who aspire to facilitate new and resilient leadership models in their practice.

The course advocates for the development of cross-sectoral cohorts bringing together people with diverse practices and backgrounds, including performing arts, museums, galleries, libraries, local governments, festivals, independent arts practices and cultural organizations and community.

Students are supported to exchange and collaborate in innovative and entrepreneurial approaches to creative and professional practice, and to engage in thought leadership and interdisciplinary practices.

The interdisciplinary nature of each cohort, combined with peer learning opportunities, allows students to consolidate their skills, knowledge and expertise to lead with confidence in a wide range of disciplines and industry roles.

What learning and new knowledge are people looking for in the course?

The course was created in 2016 as an indispensable platform to inspire innovative leadership in the arts and culture sector – an academic course that builds on connections and synergies between disciplines and develops values ​​of leadership around inclusiveness, collaboration, shared knowledge and ambitious thinking. .

We challenge current methodologies and highlight various approaches and opportunities around leadership in governance, cultural policy and practice, entrepreneurial modeling, communication, advocacy, cultural transformation and sustainability, and research generated by practice, as well as international leadership models.

Under the direction of First Nations speaker Jacob Boehme, we are developing a strategy to engage with First Nations knowledge and knowledge systems during and around the 30 month course of study for each student.

The course supports the development of leadership skills and experience to be able to address contemporary issues and challenges essential to the vitality and relevance of the cultural sector. It encourages collaborative, entrepreneurial and advocacy approaches to find and communicate solutions.

What other experiences does the course offer students?

Students and alumni consistently cite the deep connections, collegiality, and shared knowledge and experiences that exist within cohorts, creating relationships and networks that continue beyond the course.

Comments on other experiences include:

  • Valorize the caliber of teaching provided by highly experienced cultural leaders in the arts industry and senior academics at NIDA, as well as unprecedented access to exceptional cultural leaders as speakers, panelists and reviewers.
  • Be able to engage in content, readings and discussions that take them beyond their practice bubble, into new territories of leadership practices and methodologies
  • Develop a deeper understanding of interdependencies between sectors and opportunities for knowledge exchange.
  • Reflect on leadership values ​​and responsibilities, become empowered to take on a leadership role, and share ways to effect change.

Do you feel inspired? Applications to study in 2022 close on September 30, 2022. More information about the course is here.


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