What motivated you to apply for the AMA’s Future Proof Museums Fellowship?
As a freelancer, I enjoy tremendous autonomy, flexibility and personal satisfaction through working on a diverse range of projects and initiatives. Incessantly ‘living life on the edge’ over the last five years has made me increasingly conscious about ensuring the sustainability of my own work practice and my personal capacity to operate a versatile portfolio which aligns with my values and ethos. My immediate priority is to optimise the long-term stability of my own consultancy so I can ultimately focus the bulk of my time on developing innovative content, solutions and quality services to future clients and be in a stronger position to influence the vibrancy and resilience of the museum sector in the best way I can, whether that’s through strategically empowering more creative projects, offering 1:1 coaching, or driving advocacy initiatives across the cultural sector.
What were your key highlights from the residential?
Amongst the many memorable features that stood out for me was getting a 360-degree MOT of my business plan. I’m so glad I seized the opportunity to book a series of individual surgeries with each of the trainers which proved invaluable in rethinking some aspects of my business strategy. Looking back, I felt like a racing car being expertly dissected and reassembled by a Formula 1 team of mechanics; any tyre punctures detected were dealt with and not a single loose bolt was left untightened.
In terms of group interactions with others on the cohort, it was mutually reinvigorating to hear from a wide mix of different perspectives and professional experience from each participant during the group discussions. Those refreshingly candid conversations with peers from across regional museums will stay with me for a long time. The range and depth of topics covered during the residential sessions were eye-opening, thought-provoking and right on the pulse. Thanks to Mark Wright’s explanation of the FIRO-B psychometric tool we were administered, I’m looking forward to re-watching Shrek with a new perspective on understanding the self in relation to other people’s behaviours – many nuggets of wisdom to be found here!
The initial stages of my Future Proof Museums Fellowship provided me with the framework and opportunity to study the game-changing business model canvas devised by Alexander Osterwalder which I have used as a template to experiment and produce different iterations of business models. My next steps are to refine and then test my business plan; at the heart of this will involve drafting a manifesto to help articulate my value proposition to different client segments and orientate me towards undertaking fulfilling work that I can deliver best. My experience on the programme has already proved to be a cerebrally rigorous and much-needed tonic that is propelling me to stay focused, keep momentum and look to the future with increased perceptiveness, positivity and vigour.
What advice would you give to others thinking of applying to the programme?
Go for it – I can’t emphasis enough how much the programme will help to sharpen your business acumen, leadership style and emotional intelligence skills.
Yasmin Khan is Director of Covalent Creative Partnerships Ltd.
Find out more about Future Proof Museums Fellowships.