As part of the Alumni Blog series, I caught up with Khayla Jordan Golucke to find out, among other things, why she chose CMCI’s MA Arts & Cultural Management course, how this course helped to prepare her for her future after graduation, and to ask what advice she would give to students currently enrolled on the course.
Khayla Jordan Golucke is a professional dancer, writer, and arts & entertainment management professional, based in Los Angeles. Khayla undertook CMCI’s MA Arts and Cultural Management course between 2015 and 2016.
After exploring topics like increasing audience engagement in the performing arts, cultural policy, and marketing and public relations for dance companies, Khayla produced the dissertation titled ‘The Challenges & Opportunities of Older Adult Dance Programmes in the London Context,’ in collaboration with Greater London Authority (GLA) and Rambert dance company. Whilst at King’s College London she worked as a Gallery & Box Office Assistant where she supported exhibitions, activities and events held in the Inigo Rooms in Somerset House East Wing. Since graduating she has had several roles spanning the arts and entertainment sectors, including as Marketing & Social Media Manager for the Debbie Allen Dance Academy, Community Engagement Manager for Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre, and in her current role as Social Media Manager for Tremaine Dance Conventions and Competitions. Khayla is also a professional dancer currently represented by Go 2 Talent Agency in LA.
Firstly, why did you choose to study the MA Arts and Cultural Management course? And why at the CMCI Department at King’s College?
After an arts management internship during my undergraduate degree program opened my eyes to the ‘behind the scenes’ work of the arts, I began researching how to pursue a Master’s degree in the field. My research led me to programs in the UK based on the cost and length in comparison to MA courses at American institutions, as well as my desire to study outside the US and in London, where I’d studied abroad for a semester in undergrad. I was originally looking at three different schools but King’s was my number one choice for its central location and the CMCI Department’s specific modules. I was also impressed by their connections to arts and cultural organizations in London, which I was able to take advantage of in multiple classes and in my dissertation research.
Since completing your MA you have had an impressive number of diverse, versatile roles can you tell us more about how the MA Arts and Cultural Management course helped you prepare for these roles and your future after graduation?
The course was very holistic in scope, so while I knew I wanted to focus my research and study from the lens of the performing arts, I was able to learn about a range of arts and cultural sectors and roles within them in the modules. The course also drew an incredibly diverse group of international students, so I was able to discuss the field with peers who had experienced the arts and cultural sectors in countries all over the world, broadening my perspective in ways that truly set me apart as a candidate for roles I’ve applied for in the US. These things combined allowed me to expand my knowledge and skillset enough to take on roles in different parts of the arts and entertainment sectors, from arts marketing, to community engagement, to development roles.
The cultural diplomacy module I took, led by Dr. Melissa Nisbett, was one of the most impactful on expanding my future career goals to the government sector and has given me a strong foundation to recognize and speak knowledgeably about how culture and art can really impact the world. My dissertation research also honed my ability to write and speak clearly about the arts to government and community stakeholders. I’ve directly applied the research and writing skills I learned in the course in many of my roles since. For example, while I worked as Community Engagement Manager for Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre’s arts education programs, I implemented before and after surveys for the students that I then utilized to write successful grant applications totaling over $100,000 for the programs.
As a freelance professional artist myself, having the perspective and knowledge of how to run an arts business has helped me with every aspect of my work including presenting myself professionally, knowing where to look for and how to secure funding, and marketing my work and abilities. It’s also meant that as I pursue a performance career, which naturally has more financially lucrative months than others, I can apply my arts management knowledge to part time roles that excite me, keep me engaged in the dance community behind the scenes, and further build my network.
If you could give any advice to students currently enrolled on MA Arts and Cultural Management course, what would it be?
Take advantage of everything both the course and King’s have to offer to connect you to greater London and its cultural and arts institutions. Many of us in the course got involved with the King’s Cultural Challenge, which helped introduce me to job opportunities at the Royal Opera House. I had the same opportunity with Rambert dance company and Greater London Authority through my work with them on my dissertation, a relationship facilitated by CMCI. Ultimately, my visa status meant I couldn’t get hired by these organizations after the course, so I would advise that if you don’t have the right to work in the UK after you study, try to get a role or internship while you do your course if you want that experience. Also, it has been a true gift to have so many friends now around the world that I met through this course. Get to know the people in your course and take advantage of the opportunity to create a lifelong global network of artists and arts managers!
Name something exciting that you are currently working on, and that has been informed by your degree studies.
I was recently chosen to be a part of Arts for LA’s ACTIVATE Arts Advocacy Leadership Program, which is a learning opportunity to network with local leaders and learn the skills necessary to advocate for the arts on a local level in the city of Los Angeles. It is truly like a practical extension of the Culture and the City module I took at King’s from Dr. Roberta Comunion, which really opened my eyes to how art and culture relate to policy, economic development, and urban renewal. I even wrote my final assessment for the class about cultural institutions in LA and their roles as tools in urban development. So that module, my roles in non-profit organizations in LA after my course, and this arts advocacy program have definitely shifted my interests and career goals from beyond working in cultural organizations to possibly working in government. My biggest hope is that the US will eventually create a federal department for arts and culture like the UK has in DCMS so I can work there – a girl can dream!