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: Winter Term 2020

Instructor Contact Informationwanlessg@queensu.ca      

(613) 533-6000 74330

Office: Room 010 basement of Theological Hall

MUTH 340 has been devised to provide an introduction to the principles and skills necessary for a successful career in the arts, focusing on important facets of the business of being an Arts professional in Canada. The course will also provide an opportunity to acquire knowledge and to further develop critical thinking about personal business practices such as planning, articulating values and creating a vision statement. 


Course Description

Learning Outcomes

MUTH 340 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 arts 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

Assignment 1 - Written critical responses: 8 readings assigned during the term

300 words (+/- 10%) critical response to class readings, seminars or other events and due on specific assigned Tuesdays prior to class time (2:30 pm). 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 

Assignment 2 - Cover letter for your most desired professional position           10 marks

 700 words (+/- 10%) cover letter applying for your most desired position with any professional arts organization or any other related employment opportunity. This ‘pitch’ should be formally addressed to the person responsible for hiring. It should identify the reasons for wanting this position, describe your attributes and the skills that you feel qualify you to meet its criteria and how this company’s mandate integrates with your own professional goals.

Your letter will be assessed using the following rubric:

1) what are the reasons that you have provided for obtaining the job and are they clearly stated?

2) have you made a strong argument (the pitch)?

3) have you identified a fit between the company’s mandate and your stated professional aims and objectives?

4) have you included an up to date CV (word count not included in assignment criteria)

With respect to the letter’s style, you should make sure that your letter is formally addressed to the person responsible for hiring for this position. As well, your writing should be clear and compelling and have employed excellent grammar.


Assignment 3 - Peer Review 

 700 words (+/- 10%)                                                          10 marks

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

Your critical response should meet two basic objectives. It should evaluate how well the subject letter meets the criteria as stated below as well as giving you an opportunity to consider the letter as if you were the recipient. 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 depth and 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 as a structure that supports the writer’s argument. As well, the writing should be clear and compelling and have employed excellent grammar.

Assignment 4 – Group seminar due on various dates throughout the term

Seminar:   30 marks (20 marks class presentation; 10 marks written submission -  due one week after presentation)

Early in the term, members of the class will choose two partners and be assigned a topic and a due date. In collaboration with your partners 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 weekbefore your due date. Your 20-minute 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 or the instructor may ask you questions.

Within one week of your presentation you will submit a PDF of your work that will be posted and made available to the rest of the class. This will include the material presented in class as well as your research notes. In addition, you will 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 

YOUR PERSONAL BUSINESS PLAN                             30% of final grade

1)      A cover sheet that includes:

Your name and professional name (if different)

Your permanent address (Where you would like your T4/T4As mailed to)

Your email and phone number and website (if you have one) as well as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, Linked-In (etc.)

It will also include an identity statement that states your professional status, what you do and whom you do it for.

For example:

I am a professional actor and director and founded the Thousand Islands Playhouse in 1982 where I served as the Artistic Director until 2012. A graduate of the National Theatre School (1972), I have worked extensively throughout Canada including five years with the Stratford Festival. In recent years, I have developed my skills as a dramaturge and during my career I have worked on approximately 30 new Canadian Plays.

As well, since 1982 I have been a professor at Queen’s University as a member of the Dan School of Drama and Music faculty. I teach courses to undergraduate students in performance, dramaturgy and business skills for the artist.

Maximum 200 words                                                                                    5% of final mark

 2)      Values Statement:   explain the artistic and social values that motivate and define your work. Take the opportunity to explain your intentions and beliefs, and what drew you to your choice of vocation. Please use the results of the values exercise that we will do in class to shape your narrative.

(400 words +/- 10%)                                                                                       30% of final mark

 3)      Vision statement:            define the future of your career by communicating your goals and objectives. Please assign a time line to accomplish them and be as comprehensive as possible

Please use elements of your SWOT analysis that will be completed in class in order to identify those strengths that can be useful in achieving your goals, those weaknesses that you feel will need to be addressed, those opportunities that you feel you can take advantage of and those threats you need to be aware of and how you might avoid them.

(400 words =/- 10%)                                                                                    30% of final mark

 4)      Financial Strategy:           create a three-year financial plan for your professional career. Estimate the income from the various sources of revenue you plan to have and the expenses that you may incur. Please use the excel spreadsheet that will be provided.

As well, include a narrative presenting the rationale for your various assumptions.

(400 words +/- 10%)                                                                                        30% of final mark

 5)      Summation:       write a short evaluation of the merits of having gone through this planning process for your future success. In your estimation, what are the comparative levels of usefulness for each component and will it be useful to you in the future?

(300 words +/- 10%)                                                                                            5% of final mark

Grading Scheme

Assignment 1 – Eight Critical Responses (see class schedule for due dates)       8%

Assignment 2 – Cover letter - due Jan 27th                                                         10%

Assignment 3 – Peer Review of cover letter - due Feb 13th                                10%

Assignment 4 – Seminar (various due dates as arranged see class schedule)    20%

                        Written submission (due one week later)                                    10%

Assignment 5 – Personal Business Plan (due April 14th)                                   30%

Class Mark – Attendance and active class participation                                    12%


                                                                                                            Total                    100%