Arts administrators plan and organise activities and projects within the arts sector. These include festivals such as Celtic Connections, the Edinburgh International Festival or the Festival Fringe, as well as individual concerts, plays and tours. They also work in galleries, museums, theatres and arts centres.
You could be:
working for an organisation such as Scottish Opera, the Scottish Book Trust or Creative Scotland
arranging artists and venues
organising ticket sales and dealing with security and catering
organising publicity and promotions and working with the media
negotiating sponsorship and funding and liaising with the culture departments of local authorities
managing finances, working within a budget, keeping records and doing general administration
recruiting and supervising staff
managing operational aspects such as venue accessibility and health and safety
at senior level, planning future strategy.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary depending on:
where you work
the size of the company or organisation you work for
the demand for the job.
The starting salaries for arts administrators are around £15,000 a year for trainees or assistants. Experienced arts administrators can earn between £20,000 and £35,000 a year and upwards.
Increasingly, arts administrators start their career as unpaid interns in the hope of being in the right spot and having the right contacts when a paid post becomes available.
The work varies a lot depending on the project.
You work in an office but you may have to travel and work away from home, especially with festivals and tours.
Most arts organisations struggle to find funding and sponsorship from Arts Councils and private companies. You will have to do a lot of persuading.
Most arts events are in the evening and at weekends. Your working hours can be long and irregular.
In small organisations you could be involved in all aspects of the day-to-day running of things. In a large organisation you may specialise in one area, such as finance or education.
There are no formal entry requirements but most entrants have relevant degrees or work experience. You certainly need to have an interest in the arts.
Relevant subjects include arts, festival and events or entertainment management, as well as art specialisms and the history of art.
You could take a National Certificate (NC) or National Qualification (NQ) in events, or a Higher National Certificate or Diploma (HNC or HND) in events or conference and events management.
For an NC or NQ course you need 3-4 subjects at National 4 including English and Maths. To get on an HNC/HND course you normally need 1-2 Highers or equivalent.
Entry requirements for relevant degree courses are 4-5 Highers including English plus National 5 Maths.
A business-related degree and a good knowledge of one area of the arts is also relevant; for entry you usually need 4-5 Highers.
You could take a postgraduate qualification in cultural or event and festival management.
Employers expect you to have experience, possibly voluntary. It helps to have worked in student or amateur productions such as drama, dance or music. Volunteering in museums and galleries is also helpful.
You will need to have general office administration and IT skills, with bookkeeping, word processing and budget management skills being particularly useful.
Competition for jobs is fierce, because so many want to work in this field. There are jobs in various organisations including: local government, theatre, dance and opera companies, concert halls, art galleries, arts festivals and community arts projects.
Vacancies are in specialist magazines such as Arts Professional, Mailout, The Stage, and in the national press. See also websites such as Mandy, The Stage and Creative Scotland.
Creative and Cultural Skills is the Sector Skills Council for advertising, crafts, cultural heritage, design, music, performing, literary and visual arts.
Creative Choices is their career information website.