Continuing Education

The science of arts management

中文摘要 / Summary in Chinese

IFT and Macao’s Cultural Affairs Bureau have linked to offer a Certificate Programme in Performing Arts Event Management. The first batch of participants started classes in April and is expected to conclude them in November.

The 189-hour course is divided into 6 modules: classes consist of theoretical and practical study, with classes covering a range of subjects, including performing arts theory, marketing, production management, and lighting and sound design. The programme seeks to promote the development of Macao’s cultural and creative industries by improving the professional skills of managers in the performing arts sector.

The course sees the continuation of a collaboration between the Institute and the Cultural Affairs Bureau that in 2011 resulted in the introduction of a programme leading to a Certificate in Arts Administration.

“This new course really takes into consideration the Macao cultural landscape,” says course lecturer Dr. Benny Lim. He is Assistant Professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and has specialised in performing arts management and policy.

Dr. Lim adds: “Although modern performing arts have been around for quite a number of years in Macao, it [the sector] is still at a developing stage. It has not reached maturity yet: but it is getting better and better, growing and becoming more important.”

He says the certificate programme aims to produce professionals with specific managerial skills who have theoretical knowledge in performing arts and are able to speak different “languages”. This applies not only in terms of being able to communicate across cultures, but also being able to address professionals across arts disciplines, such as performers, stage technicians and designers.

“One of the key considerations when we developed the course was looking at what we think performing arts managers need to be equipped with,” Dr. Lim explains. “They must be accountable to stakeholders; they must do audience development; they have to be able to work as a bridge between the artists and the rest of the stakeholders; and they must promote accessibility between the arts and the public,” he states.

More than meets the eye

One of the areas covered in the certificate programme is marketing of performing arts: topics include market analysis, strategic brand management and the 4 Ps of online marketing (price, product, promotion and place).

“Performing arts marketing is not just about ticket sales,” explains course lecturer Ms. Meggy Cheng. She is the Head of Marketing and Communications at the Chung Ying Theatre Company in Hong Kong.

“It is also about advocating your organisation’s vision to the public; it is also about education. It is not just about selling more tickets: specially when you know that even if you give out the tickets for free, that does not guarantee that people will come to watch the performance.”

Fellow programme lecturer Mr. Richard Chua, from Malaysia’s KDU University College, says the certificate “is a very strategic and positive move” for Macao’s cultural events industry.

He adds: “When talking about performing arts, a lot of people look at the stage; people think of directors and actors as they seem to reflect the glitz and the glamour of the performing arts. Actually, the people behind the scenes – especially the administrators and the management – are the ones who are powering the whole trade.”