ACI: So you got an arts degree…

ACI hosts their fourth annual workshop for recent arts grads

Panelist Rayannah Kroeker speaks at an ACI event. Photo provided by ACI Manitoba.

Panelist Rayannah Kroeker speaks at an ACI event. Photo provided by ACI Manitoba.

If you have recently graduated from one of the many arts programs available in Manitoba, you are likely being asked a lot of questions right now. Your parents are wondering when you will get a job and how you are going to support yourself, and your friends nod in feigned understanding when you use terms like “freelance” and “Kickstarter campaign.”

Graduating as an arts student can be scary – the structure of daily life is replaced by the sudden freedom of making your own schedule. Even if you have found a job in your desired field, the industry has evolved in such a way that a lot of your time will be spent looking for work.

To speak to the daunting questions freshly-minted grads have, the Arts and Culture Industries Association of Manitoba is hosting their fourth annual symposium titled Putting Your Arts Degree to Work. The workshop will cover topics such as budgeting, networking, and mentoring.

Alicia Faucher of the Arts and Culture Industries Association of Manitoba says that there is a lot to take away for those who are new to the creative field.

“I think seeing people speak who are currently working in the industry, who are happy, warm, and eager to share their stories will encourage attendees to keep at it,” Faucher said.

“We all want to support each other and see each other do well, and I think that’s important for emerging artists to encounter.”

Faucher thinks the workshop is a good place for grads to network and to be reminded that success is defined by the individual – not only does it look different for everyone, but it also develops and fluctuates over time.

“Many grads will discover that, unless they disregard what they learned from their degrees and go work in another industry, it can be hard to find a full-time job where you get to exercise your art in its purest form, whether it be creative fiction writing, experimental filmmaking, or classical Shakespearean acting,” Faucher said.

“To do those things, you work from one gig to the next, taking opportunities as they come. You end up being a freelancer, or even fully self-employed if you work hard enough.”

Freelancing is one of the topics covered at the symposium, helping to quantify a style of work that is considered insecure and open-ended.

“I think some concerns for graduating arts students are that they may not find as much support for their pursuits as other grads might. They will have to fight and work harder than most in other careers to be taken seriously and be successful,” Faucher said.

“The satisfaction in being happy with their lives and the work they produce for a living is quite a reward in itself.”

The ACI workshop will be taking place at 245 McDermot on Feb, 28. Tickets are $10. For more information, visit: