As part of a new Alumni Blog series I caught up with Joshua Dedman to find out, among other things, why he chose CMCI’s MA Cultural and Creative Industries Course, how this course helped to prepare him for his current career, and what advice he would give to students currently enrolled on the course.
Joshua Dedman is an experienced consultant with a unique specialism in the cultural sector and creative economy. He undertook CMCI's MA Cultural and Creative Industries course between 2014-2015.
According to Joshua, the MA provided an invaluable balance of knowledge and skills for this career. He gained a practical and academic understanding of the Cultural and Creative Industries, as well as skills in undertaking research projects, leading teams, and presenting complex findings.
Ahead of his graduation he secured an internship at creative industry consultancy, BOP Consulting. He remained there for five years, elevated to Senior Researcher. Here he managed dozens of projects spanning the arts and cultural sector. These ranged from evaluating the impact of multi-million-pound funds from Arts Council England, the National Lottery, the British Council, and the European Commission, to writing strategies and business plans for cultural venues and destinations, such as The Old Vic Theatre, Abbey Theatre, and the Greater London Authority. These studies involved in-depth impact assessment analysis, financial modelling, strategic fit analysis and infrastructure mapping.
In October 2020 Joshua joined Olsberg•SPI, another creative industry consultancy, but specialists in the international film, television, and video games industries. Here is he undertaking a skills review of film production in Latin America for the IDB, undertaking an impact assessment of a BFI fund, as well as recently commenced a film strategy for a region of the UK.
Thank you for agreeing to answer a few questions for me. Firstly, why did you choose to study the MA Cultural and Creative Industries course? And why at the CMCI Department at King’s College?
I had previously completed a Geography undergraduate degree and knew I wanted to work in a job that was grounded in research. With a passion for the arts, I initially worked as a culture editor for an online magazine, but soon wished for meatier research and reporting, as well as effecting policy. This led me to looking at MAs that would bring together my research and art interests with practical insight and connections. The CMCI CCI course offered this; academic research but also the chance for supervised research into my own projects, practical sector insight, as well as an internship module. I also knew I wanted to be in the cultural capital of the world and with the strong King’s name.
Your first role out after completing your degree was Senior Researcher for BOP. We've read a little bit about the skills that the MA developed (academic insight, leadership, presentation, and influence) but can you tell us more about how the MA Cultural and Creative Industries course help you prepare for this role and your future after graduation?
I started at BOP as an intern, then progressed up to Senior Researcher. There was definitely a step change from academia to consultancy; different ways of working, timelines and very much client-facing and focused. That said, I was equipped with great insight of the CCIs that I immediately was able to bring to my work at BOP, as well as the necessary research and leadership skills that a consultant needs within the CCIs. I was able to design research approaches based on varying briefs, I could work in teams on shared projects, and I was able write up and communicate my findings to a range of stakeholders.
If you could give any advice to students currently enrolled on MA Cultural and Creative Industries course, what would it be?
Be bold and strategic. In anticipation to the BOP Consulting founder coming to speak with our Cultural Policy class, I made sure I had read up on their blog and cornered him after the class, expressing how by interest interning with them. During interview I was told this set me apart as I showed clear passion and resourcefulness. Secondly, recognise opportunities from COVID-19. Whilst it’s been hard for the CCIs, new business models and ways of engaging with new and more diverse audiences have been forged. These need fresh minds to develop further. Both the consultancies I’ve worked at have never been busier supporting their clients to embrace these developments.
What did you enjoy most about the MA Cultural and Creative Industries course?
The internationalism! I met some of the most incredible people from around the world from doing the course. They all brought their own perspective and insight into what otherwise would easily be an overly English and traditional way to see the sector, which would be limiting.
Were there any academics that had a strong influence on you during your time in the CMCI department? Why?
Jessica Rapson and Red Chidgey were both fantastic. Their module on Cultural Memory really opened my eyes to how the world is constructed, interpreted and researched – and the politics that exist within. I also worked with each on two research projects. Jessica supervised a student-led research study I was involved in into the value of Street Art within society and regeneration, culminating in a panel discussion at Kings. Red and I worked on symposium on the intersection of gender, art and memory, as part of a AHRC funding bid. They were also incredible in their pastoral care; always putting the students’ wellbeing first.