Cultural Studies: Five Online Courses for Managers of Creative Industries

The EU-EaP Culture and Creativity Programme is offering the opportunity to learn something new and to better structure existing knowledge to all those involved in the creative industries, thanks to the launch of the educational online programme.

The duration of one lecture is between three and five minutes. That is, each course can be completed in 30 minutes. All videos have been filmed in English, but there is the possibility of selecting subtitles (available in eight languages: Russian, English, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Georgian, Romanian, Azerbaijani and Armenian). Moreover, almost every lecture is complemented with an original compilation of the most important and constructive tips presented in the form of an infographic. As a bonus, lecturers offer recommended readings (mostly in English), checklists and other additional materials.

At the end of each course, you can take a test: when you correctly answer 10 out of 12 questions, you will receive an electronic certificate in English from the Programme. If you do not pass the test the first time, you can always go back to the course and try to take the test again.

1. Culture and Creativity

This can be said to be an introductory course that will present basic terms and concepts and make you reflect on why success today comes primarily from fresh ideas; why startups are sprouting like mushrooms after rainfall; why topics relating to improving urban space are discussed ever more frequently and actively; and how theatres, galleries, new radio stations, small publishing houses or even computer games can change the environment in which we live and work.

Who is it useful for:

  • People who want to start or are starting to work with all sorts of cultural projects and who might need to understand the specifics of the chosen field. In addition, this course will be another reminder of the importance and necessity of such work;

  • Students for whom a 15-minute course can replace a summary of introductory lectures on the creative economy or cultural studies;

  • All those who are interested in the latest trends in the development of culture, want to know what lies behind the phrase “creative economy” and what the difference is between cultural and creative industries (if there is one), and who believes that culture can resolve conflicts;

  • Facebook experts in architecture, music and visual arts who need documented confirmation of their professionalism.

This is the only course that consists exclusively of mini lectures without videos.

2. Proposal Writing

Magdalena Krasowska-Igras, of the Information Society Development Foundation in Poland, who has 12 years of experience in writing project proposals and budgeting, shares her professional secrets over the course of three lectures.

The course will help to conduct a multifaceted analysis of a future project, identify and clearly express the problem, whose solution will be the goal of the project, set common objectives and predict potential results, which will ultimately help to write a good project proposal.

Despite the fact that the course caters primarily for big international projects that are implemented in collaboration with representatives of different countries (this is precisely why part of the course is devoted to raising the number and quality of the organisation’s external relations and the search for reliable partners), it will be useful for all those seeking funding for their own projects, even at local level, as you probably already know that proposals should be written well regardless of whether they are submitted to an international organisation or a local authority. Especially that if you apply all the recommendations suggested by Magdalena Krasowska-Igras, you will definitely stand out in a good light from competitors at local level.

Remember that a successful proposal that is structured and clear often equates with the chance to realise your project.

You should pay particular attention to the list of “commandments” for writing project proposals, which will advise you on what points you should pay attention to at the stage of writing or editing proposals. As a bonus, you will receive a checklist, or a draft plan of sorts, an indispensable cheat sheet for your project proposal, which can subsequently be easily tailored to the specific needs of an organisation. It is precisely the thing that should be added to your favourite bookmarks or printed out to have on hand when needed.

Finally, it can be said that this course is not one of those that you can listen to in your free time and forget about. These lectures really do have practical value and primarily target people who set themselves clear goals, strive to achieve success and value their time. 

3. Advocacy

The course consists of five lectures, during which communication and advocacy expert Anush Begloyan will shape your theoretical knowledge of the subject, present several tried and tested tips and change your understanding of the power and possibilities offered by advocacy.

The lecturer explains what advocacy really is and dispels the widely-held stereotypes pertaining to this concept. Therefore, if you still think that advocacy is for professional lobbyists or politicians, or that you would have to literally have a megaphone and inevitably take part in protests, rallies and demonstrations; if you believe that advocacy requires too much time or a dedicated department; or even if you do not have any idea about what it is, this course will help you become “savvy” in this area.

If you already know what advocacy is all about, and you want to learn how to effectively use its tools, the course will teach you how to shape public opinion and create connections maps, influence your target audience, drum up supporters and neutralise opponents to produce the desired result. You will also find out about the means and ways of communication in advocacy and learn to measure the results of your campaigns.

You can rest assured that by the end of the course Anush Begloyan will have completely convinced you that effective communication is the key to changing perceptions and achieving any change in society.

In addition, the lecturer applies a checklist, which was compiled and tested personally, consisting of a table to help you analyse and assess the potential of a social campaign, and cites compelling motivational facts:

“You only need 10% of the population to fully believe in something to convince the rest of the population of the same.

43% of users of social media decided to learn about a political or social problem because they read about it in social media.

About three quarters (72%) of activists in the world are working with issues and problems that were recommended by friends, family and co-workers. This is perhaps the most powerful motivator.”

4. Strategic Planning

This course consisting of five lectures was developed by David Parrish, a specialist in the cultural and creative industries and author of the book on strategic marketing called Chase One Rabbit: Strategic Marketing for Business Success. 63 Tips, Techniques and Tales for Creative Entrepreneurs.

The course would be of interest primarily to leaders, heads of organisations, project managers and ideologists, after all it is on their shoulders that the development of a strategic plan rests. The lecturer provides a great deal of attention to the specifics of teamwork and the role of the leader, and explains what things the team should have identical views on and where divergence is tolerated.

The course is full of useful comments, pointers, practical cases and motivational discourse.

David Parrish explains how the vision of the project success differs from a dream, how to maintain a balance between creativity and business, and how to create a partnership between “T-shirts”, i.e. creatives, and “suits”, i.e. people with strategic planning skills. He tells you in a clear and convincing manner how to set development priorities, taking into account your unique competitive advantages, and why you shouldn’t blindly follow the masses, even if the masses are heading for big markets with high demand. In conclusion, David Parrish will reveal the secret of strategic marketing and teach you to give up unpromising markets.

Moreover, the course will help you to improve SWOT and ICEDRIPS analysis skills, and the checklist developed by the lecturer with regard to the specifics of cultural and creative industries will be a useful aid, and it will help you analyse your project and build your own strategic planning model.

5. Creative Europe

This course is the most specialised on this list. Its purpose is to clarify the nature and features of the EU’s largest grants programme, Creative Europe, which finances projects in the cultural and audiovisual sectors (a project can receive funding from EUR 200,000 up to two million), and help potential participants register, write a proposal and prepare the necessary package of documents. It is basically a video manual.

The course is fairly short, and although it includes five lectures it will only take 15 minutes of your time all in total. The lecturers are Egle Deltuvaite, head of Creative Europe Desk Lithuania, and Yvelin Karu-Veskioja, head of the Estonian Desk.

It is worth noting that only projects initiated in partnership with representatives from several participating countries in the programme can take part in Creative Europe (for small scale projects, the minimum number of involved countries is three, whereas it is six for larger scale projects). In addition, the main partner and other partners alike must have been working actively in the cultural and creative sector and have legal status for at least two years. Therefore, the course focuses on finding partners, and offers links to resources to find them. In addition, it explains the selection criteria taking into account project goals.

So, if you have an idea for a project, an initiative, which focuses not only on national or local interests, but can benefit the European Union too, and you are willing to work on it, this course is for you.

These courses are just the beginning. Leading international experts are already preparing materials for future courses. That is why, get ready this year to learn more about finance, fundraising, communication and project management for cultural organisations. 

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