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Peter Flynn

Career Path: Sales & Marketing Director, Soho Theatre

During my BA (Hons) degree I realised that I was very much not aiming to be on stage, but to work ‘behind the scenes’ in making theatre happen. Whilst my degree was incredibly useful at allowing me to understand theatre and the way in which it is made, it didn’t really touch much on the practicalities of running a company, a venue, a tour or starting your own business. I identified the MA in Cultural Management at Northumbria University as the ideal next step in my studies.

The MA in Cultural Management filled in all the blanks that weren’t tackled in my degree and opened my eyes to all of the facets and possible employment opportunities in the cultural sector. From financial planning, to marketing an event, to encouraging and growing entrepreneurial ideas right through to debating whether culture is a suitable tool for regeneration or whether it should be ‘pure art’, the course clearly was geared up to enable me to have a holistic view of the sector as well as giving me very practical skills that I could apply, and have, in my future career. One of the biggest benefits of the course is how well recognised it is by the cultural sector of the north east and beyond. As a full-time campus-based student I benefitted from having a huge number of doors and networks opened up to me; meeting key funding organisations, administrative staff from all kinds of venues and companies and makers of art and culture of all types. My tutors were incredibly well-informed and full of contacts and pathways that I just wouldn’t have been able to access on my own.

Since graduating I’ve had key positions in theatre companies across the country, something I’m certain I’d never have achieved if I hadn’t studied the MA when I did – it gave me an edge in a very competitive market. I have a network of contacts introduced to me in those first few months that I’m still, 15 years on, drawing on and collaborating with and I’m still putting into practice all those skills and learning. And for that I’m incredibly grateful.

For anyone thinking of applying for any of the Cultural Management postgraduate courses I’d encourage you to do so. If you’re looking for something to further your career, to give you practical skills and learning alongside theoretical understanding and if you’re looking to meet new people and network in the cultural sector, then the MA programme is probably your best bet of making a strong inroad and securing a place in the industry.

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