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MA/ PgDip/ PgCert Arts, Festival and Cultural Management

Course Description

Within a rapidly changing domestic and international environment, the work of arts and cultural managers is becoming more complex and significant. The creative industries are growing rapidly and patterns of cultural work are changing. Cultural organisations and festivals are in a period of fundamental, pervasive and long-term change; managers must deal with a host of dramatic, often contradictory demands and challenges. This leads to a situation where there is a need for graduates with more holistic and integrated perspectives regarding the management of cultural organisations and the political, economic, social and environmental conditions
in which they function. This course has been developed in response to this need and is rooted in a belief that great leaders in the cultural sector will recognise the value of effective management while acknowledging that approaches may need to be adapted to meet the particularities of cultural organisations and festivals. Through encouraging you to become critically reflective, the course will develop
your knowledge of the contemporary issues affecting the management of arts organisations and festivals while equipping you with the practical management skills that are essential for developing a career in the field. While not intended as practical vocational training a number of assignments are orientated towards developing the knowledge and skills required to become an effective practitioner in the field. In addition, students are encouraged to arrange and undertake practical experience within cultural organisations to complement their studies.

This MA is designed as a conversion degree and we welcome applicants from non-business related subjects. It is suitable for both graduates who wish to add a vocational management emphasis to their first degree and those with equivalent professional qualifications or experience. It is likely to be of interest to those who studied the arts and humanities at undergraduate level or those with
significant workplace experience who would like to gain a formal qualification in a flexible manner.

Teaching, learning and assessment

Teaching comprises a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, case studies, simulation exercises, and projects. You will also be required to arrange a period of industry based learning. Your performance on the course will be assessed by essays, reports, exams, presentations and a dissertation or project (MA only). Normally, there are around 30 students undertaking the course each year.

Teaching hours and attendance

Each module will require you to attend classes and carry out independent work. Most modules consist of two to three hours of class time each week of the semester. Where possible, all teaching takes place over two days per week. Your specific timetable will depend on whether you study full or part time. Flexible study options and a diverse curriculum mean that this course is suited to both those
already working in the arts and those who are looking to start a career in the sector.

Links with industry/professional bodies

Part of our strength comes from our location; being based in Edinburgh means that the course has been developed over time in co operation with key national cultural agencies and other bodies with a strategic interest in the development of arts organisations and festivals. Our location in the ‘festival city’ also allows for strong practical links between the course and the many arts, festival and
cultural organisations based in and around Edinburgh, across Scotland and the UK.

Sector Skills Bursaries

In a bid to support skills development within the cultural sector in Scotland, QMU offers a limited number of bursaries to staff from selected Scottish cultural organisations in order to support them in undertaking the MA part-time.


15 credits: Critical Issues in Cultural Management and Policy/ Managing Cultural Projects and Festivals*/ Marketing Cultural Organisations and Festivals*/ Strategic Management and Finance*/ Fundraising and Development in Cultural Organisations and Festivals*/ People Management, Governance and Law/ Experiential Learning/ Understanding Research

If studying for an MA, you will also complete a dissertation or project (60 credits). * modules taught on Block Taught PgCert


You will be qualified for a broad range of management positions within a wide spectrum of cultural organisations and festivals. Many career opportunities are open to you and previous graduates have gone on to work in theatres, performing arts organisations, galleries,
local government, and cultural agencies. In addition, many now work in festivals within the UK, Europe and internationally. Potential careers might include producing, fundraising, marketing, programming, or audience development, as well as many other roles across the cultural industries and all professions requiring skills in effective management.

Quick Facts

¡ Small cohort of students working closely and collaboratively with staff.
¡ Range of guest lecturers from key cultural organisations and festivals.
¡ Option to complete a business plan rather than a dissertation for the MA.
¡ The only postgraduate course of its kind in Scotland.

Visit the MA/ PgDip/ PgCert Arts, Festival and Cultural Management page on the Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh website for more details!

Entry Requirements

A UK honours degree or equivalent OR significant work experience in cultural organisations or festivals.

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