Butholezwe is studying the MA in Culture, Policy and Management. He chose it to expand his cultural management knowledge, skills and networks.
What was your main motivation to undertake postgraduate study?
I am a mid-career cultural manager from Zimbabwe. Since 2014 I have been the Programmes Manager of a fledgling heritage institution, Amagugu International Heritage Centre. Moved by the desire to sustainably grow the organisation's resource and programming base as well as community impact, I decided to develop my cultural management knowledge, skills and networks. Pursuing a master’s degree became an imperative to fulfil my goals and ambitions.
What were the factors that influenced your decision making when considering postgraduate study?
I wanted to study in a university in London and get the opportunity to immerse myself in London's cultural products and services. I was also recommended City by a former student of the MA Culture, Policy and Management programme.
What were, if any, the main challenges that affected your decision about postgraduate study? How did you overcome them?
My organisation Amagugu International Heritage Centre is a young institution with a lean staff of four people. My work is central to the organisation viability as I am responsible for fundraising and programme development and management. I was worried about leaving my position for a year. When I made the decision to pursue postgraduate study, I managed to recruit an acting Programmes Manager and scheduled a thorough handover period to ensure a smooth transition and continuation of operations.
Why did you choose City?
City has one of the longest running arts management courses in London and this added up to its institutional credibility. I carefully reviewed the course modules to check these were meeting my knowledge and skills needs in areas such as organisational management, financial accounts and creative cities. City’s membership with the University of London was also a pull factor.
What has been your student experience at City so far?
The learning experience has been the most purposeful of my life. With a foundation of over 5 years work experience I’m returning to study to acquire new knowledge and skills with a clear action plan on how these new knowledge and skills will be put to practical use.
Meeting and building relations with international students in my class have broadened my aesthetic horizons and expanded my network globally.
In the autumn term I started a talk show on the university's Carrot Radio. Titled Country Talk, the show profiles international students studying at City and aims at promoting global citizenship within City's community.
How studying a postgraduate degree has helped you develop personally and professionally?
At a personal level, my time management and planning skills have quite changed in order to cope with the fast-paced UK lifestyle. My networking skills have also improved as I am constantly building relations with various students.
Professionally, I am currently pursuing an internship in an art gallery which is giving me exposure to contemporary approaches to arts management such as artist management, curation and knowledge organisation management.
What skills and knowledge do you think the course has helped you develop?
My ability to prepare and analyse financial accounts has significantly improved. I’ve also enhanced my qualitative and quantitative research skills and acquired new concepts related to managing creative and cultural organisations, arts audiences and marketing, creative cities and cultural policy.
What opportunities and experiences City has offered you during your course?
I’ve joined City's Professional Mentoring scheme and have been matched with a mentor who has provided me with professional guidance and support along with facilitating networking opportunities with individuals and organisations in the creative sector in London. I have also volunteered as a feature story writer for a local charity, Good News Shared, an initiative brought to my attention by City.
What advice would you give to people thinking about postgraduate study? What would you have liked to know then that you know now?
I would advise prospective students not to procrastinate but enrol and get on with their studies. One year is only a short period of time but a worthwhile investment for your personal and professional growth.
I would have loved to know that my Department has no written exams but uses essays for module evaluation. This can attract the interest of those feeling nervous about sitting exams.
What are your career plans once you have completed your postgraduate degree?
I will return to Zimbabwe and resume my job as Programmes Manager at Amagugu International Heritage Centre. I also plan to do some part-time cultural studies lecturing in local Zimbabwe universities. Finally, I’d like to establish an arts management consultancy firm.
How do you think City has equipped you for the next stage in your career journey?
I’ve built up confidence in my capabilities and I am keen to actively contribute to the growth and impact of my organisation. As an aspiring academic, I will enrol for a PhD upon completion of my MA.
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