Juliette Matrige, is a former student of Master’s Degree in Arts and Cultural Management. She completed her studies in December 2022 and today tells us about her experience with classes, internships, new professional challenges, and new perspectives that she has taken away from this programme. She recognizes that taking the risk of moving to Barcelona has given her some unique experiences, as well as invaluable skills, knowledge, friends, and a network in different sectors of the cultural world.
Juliette, tell us more about you and why you decided to do this Master’s Degree in Arts and Cultural Management.
After my internship and graduation, I wanted to do a master’s degree. I’ve always been attracted to the culture sector, so when I decided it was the time, I found this master’s degree in Barcelona very interesting, so I took the risk and decided to move.
What was the first thing that attracted you to Barcelona?
Oh, Barcelona… La playa [the beach], maybe. But now I realize that what I miss the most about Barcelona is the time. Here in Belgium it is very very dark, for example, right now it’s snowing. Even if it’s cold, you can always enjoy the sun in Barcelona.
How long ago did you finish your studies and what are you doing now?
I officially graduated in December 2022, but I had the ceremony in June. I decided to close my records in December because I wanted to take another internship in Brussels, so to do that, I needed to officially be a master’s student.
Can you tell me more about your process with the internships?
During the master’s degree I started an internship at a music record company. It was really nice but I didn’t really agree with the way that they managed the process. They were quite disorganised and this was really problematic for me. I felt we didn’t understand each other, and we couldn’t work in a beneficial way. So I thought a lot about it and then I talked to Claudia (our internship coordinator). I explain to her how I didn’t feel like staying in that internship because I didn’t feel that I would grow from the experience; she was very understanding and committed to find another internship for me. Then I did another internship at PlayLab and it was not my first internship in the audiovisual sector, I had done two other internships in Belgium before this master’s degree, so I knew a little more about the audiovisual sector than the music sector. The decision to change the internship was really good for me because I really appreciate having worked at PlayLab. The team was small, but I had a really better time dealing with the manager, we were more connected and I learned. When I finish there, I wanted to do an additional internship in my country, also in the audiovisual sector.
Your approach was very interesting because you insisted on finding a place where you would feel at ease. What advice would you give to people who are in the same process of finding a professional internship that can really be a learning experience?
You really have to trust yourself. Really think about if you will have grown after this internship, and if it will be useful for your career because this is not a game, it’s important for you. And I think also due to the work you put into them, it’s important that you develop skills in return. In my opinion, if you think you made the wrong choice, it’s okay. You don’t have to be afraid of that, you have to accept it and do something to correct it. I think that you have to be understood and to be open to the discussion with the boss because many people don’t work well together. There’s nothing wrong with you or with the company, it’s just not a good fit and that is not a failure.
Now that you’ve finished this master’s and are now in your career, what do you think is an essential skill that you would highlight in the process?
I think that the fact that it’s an international master’s degree. I mean, the fact that most of the people from the master’s degree don’t come from Barcelona so they made the trip, they decided to leave everything to study there, deal with the language, meet new people… These are the kind of soft skills that are really important to me. Also, I know that they were essential in my interview at the place I’m working now, UnMedia. When I applied in July, they felt that it was great that I made the decision to really take risks by leaving my country to go somewhere I didn’t know and where I didn’t know anyone, just because I thought that It was the best decision of my career. I mean, that’s no small thing. It doesn’t mean that if you choose any other master’s degree close to home then you are lazy about working. But, this was an important investment in every sense of the word. The fact that you are willing to move for your career and take the risk, learn to adapt to changes… That is really important.
What are your plans for the future?
I have been hired at the place I was doing my internship, so I think I will stay there. I don’t know for how long. I really appreciate the way I’m working there, because everything is clear, and I always understand the point. I found it’s easier when you are young, to work with boundaries and a clear objective, it’s reassuring and I really appreciated it.
What is your dream job?
Now I’m working in a company that does co-production. So, we coproduce movies mainly from France: we take the part of the shooting that happens in Belgium, or the post-production happening in Belgium, or any work that would happen in Belgium from different movies, but it’s not a main producer, we are never the ones making all the decisions or really deciding the budget. We organized what the people agree to give us in Belgium. So, I think later it would be great to work as a major producer.
In your opinion, what is the best teaching that this master’s gave you in your training as a cultural manager?
I think that this master’s degree is not really based on the marks; you still have to do the final exams and that stuff, but it’s a lot about practicing. Not being afraid to give your opinion in class, to interact with others, to communicate, to debate. I think this is really important and helps students to be connected, and to be focused during the class because I remember when I was studying management at my University: nobody was listening. It was like one teacher at end of the auditorium and 100 students and nobody really listening. So, I really love the interaction that was created in the classroom and how that actually helped us to create a network.
Yeah, it´s an incredible opportunity to really get to know opinions from all around the world.
I really feel that I learned new cultures, because in Belgium there are not a lot of people from around the world, and I really appreciate meeting new people, and new cultures. I really felt that I met so many interesting people, so different from one other, even more than in my country. I feel like it was really what made the master’s programme rich. It was amazing. I think this is one of the main reasons why makes sense to do a master’s in cultural management within in an area with different cultures like this one at UIC Barcelona.
During your career you have been more related to the audiovisual sector, but have you found it useful to discover other parts of the cultural world?
Yeah! I did three internships before going to Barcelona: two in the audiovisual sector and one more related to cultural policies, like research in the cultural sector; I knew I really loved the audiovisual sector but I really wanted to have an overview. Now it turns out that I’m still working in the audiovisual sector but in some classes, for example, publishing industries, I felt didn’t know anything about it and I felt like “this is amazing, I’m so glad to learn more about this because I would never have learned about it without this master’s programme.” Maybe for my career, it would’ve been more useful to do a master’s degree directly related to the audiovisual sector, but I don’t have any regrets about having chosen this master’s degree because I feel like it helped me to grow a lot in terms of my point of view about culture in a more general way.
And do you have any advice for what comes after a master’s degree, the process of facing working life?
It’s true that it is really hard to find a job in the cultural sector. I mean, a stable job because they always need people, they always require staff and money. So of course, that is one of the reasons it really makes sense to choose this master’s degree, but you have to be prepared that no one will welcome you offering you a lot of money and a stable contract. It’s not easy and the competition is really tough, you have be aware of that. But you have to trust yourself and follow your dreams and one day you will find the perfect match. I’m sure. And you have to always be open to new opportunities and to meet new people because that’s also important. You will not find a job in your bedroom, you have to talk; and in the culture sector, hearing or saying “I know someone who has done that”, “you should be interested in this”, “are you looking for someone who can take care of that? I know someone” goes a long way. It’s a lot about having a network.
Do you keep in touch with your classmates?
Yeah, yeah, of course! Most of them are still in Barcelona. My two best friends: one is still there and the other one has moved back to Lisbon. But yes, I am still in touch with them, we really want to go back to Barcelona because we miss it so much, and I think we will soon. I really miss them. I think that this master’s degree really helps us to create bonds and I really appreciate it.
Do you have any advice for the students in the master’s degree and people who are thinking about doing it in the future?
For people who have already chosen this master’s degree, my best advice is to give yourself 100%. I think it helps a lot to be able to give your advice, and form your opinions because we are still really young, so I think you really have to take advantage of the opportunity to be with many people from different cultures, have discussions about many different subjects and have the chance to express yourself with so many people interested in this subject. Being active during classes give you this unique opportunity.