Interview with international MA Arts, Festival and Cultural Management student, Julian Almeida.

 Julian Almeida, 24, from Little Compton, Rhode Island, in the USA, is an MA Arts, Festival and Cultural Management student at QMU.

While completing an undergraduate degree in Political Science and Dance in the USA, Julian completed several internships in arts management. When she graduated, she knew she wanted to continue this work and searched for courses in arts management in the USA and abroad.

After graduating, Julian worked in arts management for a year and a half but found herself wanting to develop her knowledge of the arts internationally and gain experience in wider and more diverse areas of arts management.

Julian wanted to learn the theory to back up what she knew about working in festivals and in the arts, and to gain the skills and critical thinking ability to become a more proficient and productive arts manager.


Why did you choose to study at QMU and in Edinburgh/Scotland?

“I chose Edinburgh to study in because I’m particularly interested in festivals and Edinburgh has an international reputation as a festivals city.

“I’d previously visited Edinburgh during August and been amazed at the number and quality of festivals and cultural events.

“When considering future postgraduate study, I found myself searching for courses in major festival cities, and I remember searching and hoping to find a quality course in Edinburgh, as it was my dream location to study and live.

“Edinburgh is the perfect place to study arts management, as our course allows many opportunities to make connections from theory to practice in a broad range of real-world examples.

“The best experience I’ve had in Edinburgh is being here during July and August while not studying. It was extremely valuable to me to work in the sector during the festival season, attend many festival events, and see the city at its best in relation to my studies (and in summer Edinburgh is incredibly fun!).

“I love this city – I love being able to walk easily almost anywhere, how close I am to expansive green spaces, how connected I am if I want to travel, and also how beautiful the city is and how much history it has that I can learn about. I love to study in the National Museum of Scotland, walk through The Meadows, or sit in Princes Street Gardens. I also highly recommend climbing to the top of the Scott Monument for an incredible view.”

Where have you lived whilst studying?

“When I first arrived at QMU, I lived in student accommodation on campus, and the best part was easy access to classes and the library. It’s very easy to focus on your studies when you live on campus, and it’s nice to be able to reach the academic building so quickly

“I’ve since moved into the city centre and live in a shared flat in Newington. I like having a small number of friendly flatmates, easy access to everything the city has to offer, and being so close to outdoor green space like The Meadows.”

What has been the highlight(s) of the course so far?

“The most interesting part of the course was relating theory to practice, both through my own work experience and through the examples offered by our lecturers who all have amazing experience in the sector.

“Part of our course is a module where we take arranged visits to arts and cultural organisations, and this has provided another opportunity to make contacts and apply what we are learning to real-world situations.

“I could only have made so many and such varied connections between my studies and the practice of arts management in a city as vibrant as Edinburgh, and with the help of a well-designed course like this one.”

What are your top tips for future MA Arts, Festival and Cultural Management students?

“Come to Edinburgh! I think if you are considering the course then that is a good sign the course is for you. Especially for international applicants, this course opens the door to a valuable festival city, and it really is one of the best places on earth to learn about arts management.”

 Are you working whilst studying at QMU?

“I had the opportunity to work with the Edinburgh International Festival in the office of the director. I assisted the Director’s PA, as well as working with the Managing Director and External Affairs Coordinator to plan and deliver events and manage stakeholder interactions.

“I was also lucky to complete a placement with the Lammermuir Festival, which was arranged through the course, as well as volunteer at several other festivals and cultural events during my time here.

“I was able to work over the summer because I started the programme at QMU in January, rather than September. Other international students may also be interested in taking the January start option and have the summer off in Edinburgh too.”

 Would you consider further study at QMU?

“Learning from our incredible lecturers has inspired me to be even more passionate about arts management and festivals. In the future, if there was a specific issue or topic I was very invested in, I would consider a PhD.”

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