Monday, 27 June 2011

Starting at the Kennedy Center

Photo: mv
I am starting today my one-month training at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington. The centre opened in 1971, positioning itself as an organization that presents excellent American and international artists and performances, that supports new work and young artists and that is a leader in arts management training, both nationally and internationally.

It is the investment of the Kennedy Center in this later field, training, that brings every year to Washington culture professionals from all over the world. Michael Kaiser, President of the Kennedy Center and founder of the DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the Kennedy Center, believes that, apart from the need to support talent and artistic creation, there is a need to train good arts managers, watchful and sensitive regarding the changes (social, political, technological and economic) that affect the cultural sector, able to draw strategic plans that can guarantee a healthy and efficient management of the institutions that exist to support artistic creation and make it accessible for the public.

The Summer International Fellowship (SIF), in which I am going to participate, lasts three years and the fellows spend one month in each of these years at the Kennedy Center, having the opportunity to learn with some of the best professionals in the fields of strategic planning, marketing, fundraising and financial management. The training involves seminars, masterclasses, group and individual projects, the integration of the fellows in various departments of the Kennedy Centre, as well as a series of special events, from performances to encounters with arts management professionals and other influential figures in the cultural field.

The fellows of my year come from Africa, Asia and Europe. I will be sharing this experience with the Deputy Director of Kuona Trust (Nairobi, Kenya); the Executive Director of Kwani Trust (Nairobi, Kenya); the founder of Made for Stage Productions (Karachi, Pakistan); the General Manager of Corporate Communications of the Mahindra Foundation (India); the co-founder, Executive Director and Artistic Director of Evam Entertainment (Chennai, India); the founder and Director of Siddharta Art Gallery and Kathmandu Contemporary Arts Centre (Kathmandu, Nepal); the Head of Foreign Affairs of the National Ballet of China; the Director of Dance UK; the Deputy Director of the National Centre of Folk Culture (Kiev, Ucraine); the founder and President of ARS DOR Association (Chisinau, Moldavia); and the Director of POGON – Zagreb Centre for Independent Culture and Youth (Zagreb, Croatia). During our month at the Kennedy Center we will meet and have some common classes with fellows from the two previous years. Thirty six participants from thirty two countries. The Kennedy Center invests on all of them, all of us, in order to train good arts managers all over the world and, naturally, its ambassadors.

I am truly lucky and privileged to be able to participate in the Kennedy Centre SIF. This is going to be a great adventure. I obviously wish to learn, learn, learn. But, in this initial phase in particular, I wish for all my ‘certainties’ to be challenged.

No comments: