A network is made up of the different people we have met in our personal and professional lives. Anybody can provide us with information that may be useful or that may put us in contact with new interesting people. Whether a network is useful or not depends on your ability to create and hone it by staying in touch with people via different communication methods. In order to activate your network, you need to be aware of what you are looking to achieve. What are your needs? Who could provide you with potentially interesting information or useful contacts? All these different elements make up your professional network, a tool that has a direct impact on your credibility and notoriety in your professional field.
Artistic work is project based. A project such as a concert, a show, an artistic creation or an outreach project requires the coming together of different people, energies, skillsets, and complementarities in order to create an event within a given timeframe. Artists, technicians, organisers, production teams, promotion teams, managers, communication managers, critics and journalists all play a part in ensuring the creation and success of a project. All of these professionals can make up an artist’s professional network and can help the artist to continue to further their career. The professional career of a musician is directly created through a succession of projects, collaborations and professional opportunities and can be furthered thanks to the reputation gained through these projects which gives the artist added credibility in their field of work. In short, the professional network plays a central role in allowing for the insertion of new artists in the professional domain.
An artist’s reputation depends on technical musical criteria such as the mastery of their instrument, or their style and expertise, but also on the artist’s personal qualities such as his ability to adapt to different situations and to integrate themselves easily in a new group or artistic project.
The word network comes from the word net and brings to mind the idea of a structure containing different knots which are all linked together to facilitate communication between the different knots and eventually to catch information in the net. A network above all, allows for the flow of information from within the professional or social circle.
Within a network, all members regardless of their social or hierarchical position, their degree of influence, or their institutional weight are likely to be a source of information. They may be able to create or engender professional relations between different people in their network. They can also diffuse, communicate about and promote different activities in their professional field.
The ability to identify and integrate different professional networks will play a key role in developing the artist’s career, their notoriety in their field and as a result will have a positive impact on their employment opportunities. Creating one’s own professional network and keeping it active is essential in order to become known in your field, generate interest from the public, and take your place in the professional world.
Professional networks can be created around activities, professions and organisations that work and cooperate together. This is very common in the cultural sector. In France for instance, the cultural sector is very structured and organized and so there are a lot of networks created around festivals, cultural venues, conservatories and training institutions, institutions that support and finance artistic creations and networks supporting particular styles of music such as classical music, jazz, baroque, or traditional music.
An artist’s first step when trying to create a professional network should be to educate themselves on the different networks that exist and to try to find the networks most suited to their artistic domain and the projects that they would like to take part in. Doing this will enable the artist to gather information and new contacts.
This module has been filmed during the 2019 Medinea session in Aix-en-Provence