Queen's University

Professionalism in the Arts [MUTH 340]

MUTH 340 Arts Professionalism – the business of being an arts professional in Canada


Instructor: Greg Wanless
Times: Fall Term 2017

An introduction to the principles and skills necessary for a successful career in the arts centered around business aspects as well as important facets of professionalism required in today’s arts fields. Topics may include deportment, business practices, concert planning, promotion and publicity, and the role of supporting professionals.

Learning Outcomes:

This course has been devised to provide an opportunity for you (the student) to develop an appreciation for the business of being an arts professional in Canada.

This course will also provide an opportunity for you to acquire knowledge and to further develop critical thinking about the development of the professional theatre artist in Canada.

As well, there will be opportunities for you to develop skills in various approaches to writing for the arts through weekly critical responses, creating a professional ‘pitch’ letter as well as the creation of a major document – the Personal Business Plan.

You will also be encouraged to further develop as a life-long-learner by integrating the knowledge, skills and values that are addressed in this class.

During the term there will be five assignments:

Assignment 1: Written critical responses

8 readings assigned during the term
8 @1 mark each = 8 marks

250 words (+/- 10%) critical response to class readings and seminars and due on assigned Tuesdays prior to class time. This initial response can focus on any aspect of the reading or seminar that engages you. The marking for this assignment is pass/fail and is worth 1 mark each

Assignment 2: Cover letter for your most desired professional position

10 marks, 500 words (+/- 10%)

You will be required to create a cover letter applying for your most desired position with any professional arts company or other related employment opportunity. This ‘pitch’ should be formally addressed to the person responsible for hiring for this position. It should identify the reasons for wanting this position, described the attributes that you feel qualify you to meet its criteria and how this company’s mandate integrates with your professional goals.

Assignment 3: Peer evaluation for a colleague’s cover letter

10 marks, 500 words (+/- 10%)

You will be given an unidentified colleague’s Assignment 2 cover letter in order to create a critical response.

Remember, the writer should identify the reasons for wanting this position and have described the attributes that the writer possesses in order to meet the criteria for the position.

Your critical response will assess:

1) the clarity of the reasons that the writer has provided for obtaining the job

2) the strength of the argument (the pitch)

3) the fit between the company’s mandate and the writer’s stated professional aims and objectives.

With respect to the letter’s style, you should evaluate whether the letter was formally addressed to the person responsible for hiring for this position. As well, the writing should be clear and compelling and have employed excellent grammar.

Your critical response should meet two basis objectives. It should evaluate how well the subject letter met the criteria as stated above as well as giving you an opportunity to consider the letter as if you were the recipient.

Assignment 4: Class Seminar

30 marks: class presentation 20 marks; written submission 10 marks

Early in the term, members of the class will choose a partner and will be assigned a topic and a due date. In collaboration with your partner you will develop a critical perspective about the topic, carry out research and present your work to the class on the assigned date. You will be required to meet with the instructor at least one week before your due date. Your class presentation may include a power point as well as any other audio/visuals you may find useful to communicate your thoughts to the class. Once completed, members of the class and the instructor may ask you questions.

Once completed, you will provide a PDF of your work that will be posted on OnQ and made available to the rest of the class one week after the class presentation. This will include the material presented in class as well as your research notes. In addition, please provide follow-up answers to questions posed by other members of the class during your presentation which you were unable to fully answer at the time.

Assignment 5: Personal Business Plan                          

30% of final grade

The following items make up your personal business plan and will be devised through class exercises during the final weeks of the term

1)      A cover sheet
2)      Values Statement
3)      Vision statement
4)      Financial Strategy
5)      Summation

Grading Scheme

Assignment 1 – Eight Critical Responses                                                8%
Assignment 2 – Cover letter                                                                   10%
Assignment 3 – Peer Review of cover letter                                          10%
Assignment 4 – Seminar                                                                        20%
                         -  Written submission (due one week later)                 10%
Assignment 5 – Personal Business Plan                                                 30%
Class Mark – Attendance and class participation                                 12%

                                                                                                                 100%

PREREQUISITE: Level 3 in ARTF, DRAM, MUSC, FILM, STSC, or BMT plans.

EXCLUSION/EQUIVALENCY: MUSC 340/3.0; DRAM 319 topic “The Business of Being an Arts Professional in Canada”