The good practices could be very inspirational – one of very interesting examples is a training course titled “Young culture manager” run by VENO’S STUDIO Przemysły Qultury from Poland. At the beginning it was a cycle of training sessions devoted to young people who, basing on their passions and interests, would like to start their professional life in the cultural (mostly public institutions) and creative sectors (event and concert agencies) or start their own company and enliven the cultural life of their local communities and their regions.

But some training was prepared for a specific commissioners or specific groups of stakeholder. In 2016

VENO’S STUDIO’s prepared the special offer realised on the commission of the one of the public cultural institution, which was a result of the ongoing discussion on the importance of the cultural sector for Silesian and Polish economy and the need for professional management in the sector that would involve transferring certain business management models and organisational solutions into cultural institutions and the creative sector.

There were 12 four-hour meetings (48 hours in total). The recruitment was open and carried out by the commissioner. Finally, a 13-people group was formed, consisting mostly of young participants (20-25 years old), although the oldest participant was 32 years old. The majority of the participants were unemployed or working temporarily (as volunteers, interns or on short-term contracts) for various cultural institutions, NGOs and event agencies. Some of them were students or graduates in various ”often randomly chosen subjects, they had taken up trying to escape unemployment or satisfy their parents’ demands”  not connected with the cultural or creative sectors.

Catering for the needs of the participants, the training made use of various educational forms (lectures, workshops, case study analysis) that stimulated the participants and focused on their potentials.

One of the problems the VENO’S STUDIO had to overcome was the group’ diversification in terms of the participants’ experience in organising cultural events: there were some with a few-year practical involvement (mostly volunteers but also people who had dealt with minor marketing and organisational tasks), some had no such history but were enthusiastic about the profession. For some participants, gaining practical knowledge about organising events was a prerequisite for employment (prolonging their internship or concluding a full time employment contract). The majority of them were representatives of NGOs for which they wanted to organise events and needed appropriate knowledge and skills.

One of the larger deficit area determined during the initial need analysis was the lack of legal knowledge (the participants considered the applicable regulations too restrictive) and soft skills, insufficient awareness of psycho-sociological mechanisms and problems with logistics and planning. Also mentioned were difficulties with the access to and communication with decision-makers such as local government representatives responsible for organising cultural events or managers of cultural institutions. Another problem pointed to by the participants were frequent changes in the application rules for project funding and the lack of knowledge about the sources of financing other than those offered by the government or local government (in response to the situation more emphasis was put on analysing other financing possibilities including the Polish and EU sources). The participants also mentioned deficiencies in self-esteem (security, inability to appropriately price their own skills) and the lack of social acceptance for the occupation of event organiser (“this may be an interesting hobby, but how are you going to make a living?”). One large deficit area was the lack of knowledge and skills concerning entrepreneurship (none of the participants had their own business) and the apprehension towards starting a business coupled with the deficiency in the skill of acquiring funds for cultural activity on the free market (also through sales of tickets). On the other hand, the issues connected with events promotion carried out in social media were considered easy and pleasant to deal with.

The first training session was devoted to systematising and levelling the participants’ knowledge in the most basic areas. The subsequent sessions dealt with such issues as preparing  events (including concerts, conferences or festivals) or analysing events already organised. Finally, each participant had to present their own “event organisation model” that reflected each stage of preparation from the initial planning, through budgeting, finding partners and patrons, marketing (planning promotional and informational actions), legal issues relating to project’s scope and character to preparing a full production schedule including the needs of the staff, financial aspects (acquiring funds and proper accounting), obtaining necessary permits etc. One session was devoted to familiarising the participants with applicable regulations such as the Act on organising mass events or copyright legislation.

A lot of attention was given to determining and working on the necessary personal traits. This was done through mentoring focused on the knowledge of the market, negotiation skills, interpersonal skills (including cooperation with artists, finding sponsors), emotional resilience, creativity and resourcefulness.

The participants received course certificates. After three months the training provider carried out a survey (unfortunately not all the participants sent their feedback) that showed that some of those involved in training had started work for various companies and institutions (such as Katowice’s Congress Centre) as event organisers.

The need for so profiled courses seems to be unquestionable both in the opinion of the provider and commissioner but due to the difficult economic situation of a typical, target participant, organising such curses is depends on finding a source of financing.

Developed by Anna Ochmann