Adrian Colwell | Cultural Event Management
How did you come to study at IADT and what attracted you to the college and the courses you have studied here?
I completed my undergraduate degree in Visual Arts Practice in IADT almost 10 years ago and had a really great experience. Since then, I worked for numerous different arts organisations in different capacities. I always knew that I wanted to do some further education but wasn’t sure what exactly to do it in. I didn’t expect to be doing it back in IADT, but the Cultural Event Management post grad seemed to be a good fit as I had worked on numerous arts-related events up until that point, but never been hired specifically for that purpose. I think that if you are interested in working for arts organisations, you can often be asked to work outside of your job description, so it’s helpful to be adaptable and to have a couple of strings to your bow. Also, I thought that the skills that I would gain would be easily transferable to numerous roles in the arts sector.
How did your choice of courses complement each other?
Visual Arts courses are so valuable and are rightly focused on exploring creative interests. However, a lot more skills are needed when working in the arts sector. Experience in areas like arts policy, marketing and finance are definitely a help in terms of sustaining a career in the arts. Bringing my knowledge from my undergrad and from my experience working in the arts sector to the Cultural Event Management course helped me greatly as I had already pinpointed specific areas I wanted to work in and organisations I wanted to connect with. The Masters gave me the opportunity to do this but also provided me with the time to explore other interests that weren’t even on my radar beforehand.
What is the best thing about studying at the IADT?
The people. From the lecturers to the canteen staff, there is a distinct supportive and friendly atmosphere in IADT. From both my undergraduate and my postgraduate degrees I’ve made many friends, some of whom have become creative collaborators. The arts sector and the events sector are both interpersonal – you are working with people constantly and IADT lends itself well to that sort of working style. The collaborations that I partook in with my classmates both during and after college are something that I greatly value… almost as much as the qualifications themselves.
What does the future hold for you?
Not long after graduating, I started working for the Arts Council as their Festivals and Arts Centres Assistant, which has so far been a great experience learning opportunity for me. I had written about LGBTQ+ arts festivals in my Masters thesis which helped me a lot in the interview! In my current role, I helped organise their inaugural Change Makers’ Festival conference which exposed me to the Irish arts festivals sector further, a sector I hope to work in in the future.
Whilst doing the Masters, I also launched my own initiatives centring around arts access, diversity and inclusion of which there has been a great response to resulting in more collaborations with a diverse range of organisations; from the National Gallery of Ireland to Microsoft. I am hoping to expand on these initiatives by exploring further the arts as a method of social value and barriers to arts engagement. I feel like this will be an ongoing area of interest for me and I will continue to view whatever I am working on through an access and inclusion lens. I’ve always had a multitude of different creative interests, but I feel like since doing the Masters, they are much more honed in now which I am very happy about.
An excellent place to study and an environment which will leave a lasting impression, especially if you are doing anything creative.