Arts administration means different things to different arts managers. For 2017 Arts Administration and Cultural Management grad Winnie Nwakobi, it’s as much about giving back to the artistic community as it is about spreadsheets and human resources. We caught up with Winnie via email to hear more about her burgeoning career and her time at Humber.
I am currently the coordinator of community programming at Soulpepper Theatre Company. I began my interest in theatre through one of Soulpepper’s youth programs when I was 17, and soon gained interest in performing, producing, and organizing projects. I grew from being a participant to being a program assistant and continued to be an artist-instructor with Soulpepper. Independently, I produced, directed and performed every opportunity I got. To be part of this department now, and to be part of a team that organizes youth programs and provides opportunities for youth to explore what is out there in the world of theatre, is very exciting to me. These are the opportunities that were provided to me, and to be on the other side of it (the administration) is a privilege. I am so incredibly excited for the year ahead of me.
I produced and co-directed a play called SCAT, which was performed at the 2017 Toronto Fringe Festival. Soon after I finished that show, I was offered the role I am currently in at Soulpepper. The last couple of months have really been about honing my skills and adapting to new environments.
Two words: Excel and HR. Those are the two classes I was nervous about taking at Humber and they are the most useful things EVER! HR was a surprise for me, and I didn’t think I would like it, but it has been invaluable. I used it during my internships, as well as with my producing work. It genuinely surprised me with how much I grasped. In terms of Excel, I now use Excel for everything! From budgeting to wedding planning to making lists, I find a way to include it in almost all my work. I never thought I would say that (thank you, Heather Young, for teaching me those basic formulas.) I remember struggling and thinking, “Who likes using this stuff?” Well, guess what? I do!
Aside from that, making the connections with fellow classmates/coworkers, and having instructors that actually work in the field is so important to this program! Our instructors are also our colleagues and they always treated us as such during the program. This was a very big take away, and it’s what made it different than just a regular college/university program.
Photo Credit: Michael Asare