For us is a pleasure to introduce you Ivana Andabaka. She is alumni of the MA in Arts and Cultural Management and nowadays she is the Director at HDLU – Croatian Association of Fine Artists. Let’s get to know more about her:
We know that you used to work in economics. Why were you interested in the cultural sector and what made you decided to study the MA in Cultural Management at UIC Barcelona?
Yes, I have graduated in Economics in Croatia. After that, I worked in a multinational company for several years. Although I was successful at my work, I felt that I have missed the right motivation and I realized that I was basically selling cosmetic products, which was not inspiring anymore and I wanted to devote my work life to something meaningful for the society.
I always loved being a manager, I am very comfortable with my analytical mindset and I enjoy planning, strategizing and budgeting so I was determined to find a field where I could use all those skills but where the focus was more creative and worthy. I was always passionate about arts, especially visual arts, so doing an MA in Cultural Management seemed (and still seems) like a perfect fit. Choosing Spain was just a natural choice as I was already learning Spanish and were very much interested in the Spanish culture.
After the MA in Arts and Cultural Management, you returned to Croatia. How was that process to get your current position?
It took me 4 years after my return to Croatia to start working at the current position as the Director of the Croatian Association of Fine Artists. This was because in 2010 when I returned, cultural managers were not known nor an accepted term in Croatia; even more, placing the word “manager” in the cultural field was, at the time, negatively perceived, but this did not discourage me; it just meant that there was a longer way ahead of me.
So, while working in the EU educational sector, I started organizing my own cultural projects to get closer to the art scene in Croatia. This enabled me to meet the people from the cultural sector and, at the end, brought me to my current position. Today, I run a 150 years old arts association which gather 1.800 professional visual artists and manages 4 art galleries and a dozen of art studios.
Which courses did you enjoy the most? Can you tell us which ones and why?
Being familiar with economy and management related subjects, for me the most interesting and important were the courses of Legal Aspects, Creation of Cultural Companies and Cultural Institutions and Policies. Even today in my everyday job I benefit greatly from those subjects, since legal issues and policies are a major part of the cultural manager’s tasks.
Also, it was very meaningful the experience of developing a cultural project during the whole course. My colleague Amela Pašalić and I implemented a version of that project in Croatia and kept it running for two years.
Did you have the internship period in Barcelona?
I did a very valuable and interesting internship at the Loop Video Art Fair for 6 months. The concept was (and still is) to present around 30 galleries and their video artists to international curators and collectors by showing off the video artworks in a centrally located hotel, where each room was converted to a gallery space. The experience was very positive, it gave me a good overview on how to organize and produce such an event and more importantly it brought me closer to video art, which was, up to that moment, quite unknown to me. This year, one Croatian gallery was for the 1st time presented at the Loop Fair; it is so thrilling that this connection is finally made.
Do you keep in touch with classmates?
I keep in close touch with some of my classmates; some even visited me in Croatia. The program at the UIC Barcelona have an intense focus on team work, so it is quite natural to benefit also with some long-term connections and friendships. It has been a while since my last visit to Barcelona, 4 years now, and I would love to come back and meet some of the classmates and professors again.
As Cultural Manager, what would be your advice for the ones who are about to graduate and the ones who are about to start the MA?
First of all do the MA after some previous work experience – this will make you appreciate and make better use of your time at the MA; second – make the best of your internship, don’t take it for granted, it can be a real career booster for you; thirdly – attend all the classes, there is always something interesting to pick up, and finally – enjoy all the perks of living in Barcelona and studying in an international environment; the year at the MA will for sure be one of the best years in your life.