AAAE 2021 Virtual Conference...
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Thursday, May 13 • 3:00pm - 3:30pm
3 PM ET: Increasing access to internships

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For arts administration professionals emerging from university programs, internships can play an important role in helping to secure a job upon graduation. Many students, however, struggle with the costs associated with internships; still others struggle with receiving adequate mentorship. In this presentation, we draw on internship data collected over three years (2016-2019) to demonstrate how our students measure the value of internship experiences and what they consider both opportunities and challenges for internship in the current job landscape. Our research reveals that while a majority of students are interning with non-profit arts organizations, more and more now seek commercial sector opportunities. Moreover, regardless of major in fine arts, the majority of students are pursuing arts administration internships because they offer the most ready access to arts professions. Furthermore, while unpaid internships remain common for opportunities, students increasingly report that lack of pay remains a barrier to participation.

These findings and others from our research suggest that arts administration internships remain valuable to students across the fine arts and demonstrate a clear need to increase access to these experiences. There is ample evidence that many fine arts alumni engage in portfolio careers, balancing multiple self-employed jobs and projects (SNAAP). Self-employed artists of all stripes require the same skills as arts administrators. Yet, data from Indiana University’s Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP) indicates that many arts alumni are not obtaining these skills as part of their education. There are ongoing conversations occurring in the higher education community regarding how to fill this gap, yet the findings of this study indicate how internships can serve as a solution.

Because the majority of internships appear to be unpaid, the question of access remains critical. While internships provide valuable work experience, many students lack the financial resources, social connections and time to find and pursue an internship (Hora, 2019). “Unpaid internships specifically run the risk of unequal socioeconomic and racial representation. They typically can be afforded only by those with enough economic security to work for free for months at a time,” (Medina-Perez, 2019). In this presentation, we will share what one college of fine arts did to increase participation in internships that resulted in a 156% increase in enrollment in internship courses. Initiatives included a scholarship to assist in offsetting some of the costs associated with an internship, offering summer internship courses through the university’s extension program which provides a reduced tuition rate and working with advisors to make students aware that optional internship credits can fulfill major coursework requirements.

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avatar for Karen Munnelly, Florida State University, Assistant Professor & Director of Arts Administration

Karen Munnelly, Florida State University, Assistant Professor & Director of Arts Administration

Dr. Karen Munnelly is the Director of Graduate Arts Administration and an Assistant Professor in the College of Music at Florida State University. Prior to her appointment at FSU, Dr. Munnelly served as the Director of Professional Programs at the University of Texas at Austin, where... Read More →
avatar for Dr. Paul Bonin-Rodriguez, University of Texas - Austin, Associate Professor

Dr. Paul Bonin-Rodriguez, University of Texas - Austin, Associate Professor

Dr. Paul Bonin-Rodriguez is an Associate Professor in the Performance as Public Practice Program at The University of Texas at Austin, he has served as the head of both Undergraduate Studies and Graduate Studies in Theatre and Dance, as well as the founding Chair of the Minor in Arts... Read More →

Thursday May 13, 2021 3:00pm - 3:30pm EDT
Online - please register