What Does It Mean To Go Online?


by Geraldine Ysselstein, Arts Leadership Director


Going online; a year ago, we did not anticipate taking the whole Rozsa Arts Management Program (RAMP) online. Yes, we had plans to offer RAMP online at some point, but we were thinking of doing it incrementally with one session at a time. But, as it has for many of you, COVID-19 sped up the process enormously for putting our programs online. Prior to the pandemic, we had been experimenting with having zoom meetings with Haskayne staff, encouraging faculty to provide more online learning for the RAMP participants, and taking our intro to arts administration program (RAFT program) to Edmonton and Lethbridge to extend our reach across the province.


Working with our teaching partner, the Haskayne School of Business at the University of Calgary, we addressed numerous questions around both the logistics and content of RAMP in our new pandemic reality: would the current RAMP faculty be willing to teach the program online? What do arts managers want and need to know in this new reality? What online platform would we use? How would taking RAMP online change the experience and impact of the program - what would be gained and what would be missed? In addition to our internal discussions, we also shared a survey early in May with prospective RAMP participants asking these questions and more.


The result of all this deliberation is a 10-session Rozsa Arts Management Program taught by Haskayne staff and arts sector professionals. It covers a slightly expanded range of topics, including reconciliation, the fundamental state of leadership, arts advocacy, building better teams, marketing and audience development, community engagement, fundamentals of finance, board/management relationship, strategic planning, and fund development.


Although we will miss many aspects of our in-person sessions (including the snacks!), the opportunity to go online this year proved to have several benefits. First and foremost, it allows us to connect with more individuals across the province of Alberta, and possibly outside of the province. We are also going to experiment with online networking opportunities and are optimistic about incorporating these into our other programs in the future. We were challenged to provide the Action Learning Plan (a final project and presentation) experience in a different format, and are pleased with the current plan. Finally, we are keen to help develop arts managers’ online learning skills, with hopes that this will benefit the online capacity of the sector as a whole.


There will be undoubtedly be bumps along the way as we roll the program out and learn more about the opportunities and challenges of using technology, but mostly we are excited to connect and learn alongside the 2020-21 RAMP cohort!

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