I am currently an Arts Management, Policy and Practice (AMPP) Master’s student at the University of Manchester. During my placement at In Place Of War (IPOW), I was able to have the valuable opportunities to acquire comprehensive strategic thinking in a digital context for the arts and cultural sector. As I had mainly conducted traditional marketing tasks in my previous work, my curiosity and passion for managing social media in cultural organisations drove me to choose a digital PR area for my future career. In Place Of War, a project based at the University of Manchester, is a non-for-profit organisation which aims to support artists and communities in the most marginalised areas, such as those affected by war, violence, poverty, and social and political upheavals. Since its establishment in 2004, IPOW has produced and provided these artists and local people with tailored cultural events including training programmes, music festivals and conferences. Having built over 100 grassroots networks from over 50 countries, the organisation has been able to lead over 1,000,000 local people to engage in IPOW’s wide range of projects. While I was undertaking these social media tasks, I was able to witness that IPOW’s entrepreneurial approach contributes to positive social changes, using powerful arts and culture tools.

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From IPOW’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/InPlaceOfWar/

My central roles within the area of social media were divided into four tasks: researching and analysising markets, scheduling, planning postings, and monitoring and evaluation on a daily-based. My duties started with identifying IPOW’s current demographic groups in each of the social media tools: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as well as the usage status of social media according to each country. This fundamental analytical research enabled me to build a strategic plan for targeted audiences, by gaining an understanding of the bigger picture of the SNS world. Moreover, by delivering contents of IPOW’s bespoke cultural events, including music record projects, Creative Entrepreneurial Programmes in Africa and Palestine Music Expo, I realised that there were several powerful effects in terms of the most effective communication and educational platforms, and valuable evaluation system for the overall organisation’s management. Because of IPOW’s status as a catalyst for the international development of culture, I thought that it was vital to raise awareness of the organisation and to attract potential partners, donors and funders.

It was challenging to manage SNS at the institutional and organisational level because I have run social media only at an individual level before. However, the ICP placement strongly drove me not only to improve my research and analysis skills, but also to enhance my self-directed learning. I am now really familiar with utilizing several up-to-date analytical tools and matrix for SNS due to my experience in managing and evaluating the main social channels.  Additionally, it was also extremely valuable to further develop a social media strategy plan for the organisation, which will definitely help me to build up and work with professional skills in arts and cultural organisations in the near future. I would like to conclude by saying that this work placement was a critical test platform through which to identify the gap between existing theoretical knowledge and real employability skills.

 * Main IPOW’s social networks sites

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ipowlive/ (@ipowlive)

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