Business skills for artists

 21 March 2011

Fareda Khan of Shisha describes how her organisation supports artists in their continuing professional development, offering one-to-one advice, business skills and networking opportunities.

Professional development for artists

“We support artists of South Asian descent, and we work with a number of organisations to promote artists. We program professional development opportunities for artists – so artists’ surgery, consultancy, advice.

"We programme exhibitions, residencies, collaborate with museums, galleries, education institutions. We deliver a number of publications and include a number of audience development initiatives as well.
 
“We have a number of artists who have sought advice about their career path, about marketing, about their practice. We’ve developed it in a more constructive way by having one-to-one sessions where we ask artists to fill in a questionnaire that asks them about their practice, and information and images about their work and what area they want to develop. So the one-to-one session is about focusing on that and their needs."

Marketing skills for artists

“We think there are very few South Asian role models within the arts. What we try and do is work quite closely with artists to be able to have that link."

“One of the things that comes up is things about marketing, the lack of ability to market their own work, fundraising, where they can find funds from, where can they get funds, profiling, exhibiting spaces, a lack of writing.

"People do want as much, you know, website development. Also linking with other networks, to be able to communicate ideas with other artists as well, a support group, if you like.

"We think there are very few South Asian role models within the arts, actually. What we try and do is work quite closely with artists to be able to have that link.

"For example, in organisations and institutions where there’s very little reflection of people of culturally diverse backgrounds in really senior positions, if you see somebody from the same background as you, who’s able to have achieved such a position, or is able to achieve success, that’s a motivator. Because it’s about learning to become quite business-savvy as well as producing, and that’s the critical thing, I think.”


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