Rebecca Lamoin, Associate Director – Strategy at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, is the first Australian to be accepted into the DeVos Institute’s International Summer Fellowship at the Kennedy Center in Washington.
The programme began with the philosophy that a lot of time and money are put into training artists, so it was important that resources were also allocated for training arts managers.
As a part of this prestigious fellowship, Rebecca will spend each (Northern hemisphere) summer for the next three years at the Kennedy Center learning about arts management strategies with nine other arts management executives from around the world.
This year the group comes from countries that include Albania, Pakistan, Bosnia, Columbia, England and Ireland.
“These people are the best in the world at what they do” said Ms Lamoin, “and we’re together for an intense period of time. It’s a great learning environment, the perfect little cauldron.”
Unsurprisingly, the application process for this fellowship was rigorous. It included a series of written responses to short answer and essay questions, followed by two rounds of interviews. Ms Lamoin is far too modest to say why she thinks she was chosen for the fellowship, but looking at her impressive CV it seems pretty clear. She has a Masters in Media and Cultural Policy and has worked extensively in festival and event management (Brisbane Writers Festival, Out of the Box). She has also worked at the State Library, the Art Gallery and in QPAC’s programming department. Ms Lamoin explains that her focus is now looking at ‘major cultural institutions as public spaces’.
Cultural venues like the South Bank precinct in London and the Kennedy Center itself have models that allow the general public to interact with the space, the artists, arts managers and with each other. She says that at QPAC there is a real day-time/night-time culture, in that by the time patrons come into the venue at night, the executive staff are often off-site. Breaking down these barriers is high on her list of priorities.
When asked what she hopes the future holds for QPAC, Ms Lamoin has her answer down pat:
“That our reach is much broader, and that everyone in the state has a reason to have some emotional connection to QPAC, rather than it just being a building. I think you could level the accusation that we exist in people’s heads, but not in their hearts. There is a high awareness of QPAC, there’s not so much an emotional attachment. So I think it needs to be more ‘Oh, that’s the place I did my graduation’”.
This fellowship is a wonderful opportunity for Ms Lamoin to really workshop these sorts of topics with leading arts management executives from around the world. It will be exciting to see what she brings back for QPAC, for the arts industry in Queensland, and indeed Australia.