Recently, I’ve been pushed well beyond my professional comfort zone in ways that I didn’t think were possible. It’s been trying, it’s been humbling, but ultimately it’s benefited my work …
Tell us a little bit about what you were doing before you came to Columbia.
I’m going to preface this answer by saying that I tend to involve myself in a multitude of projects simultaneously. I like to to consider myself a jack of most trades, with an advanced proficiency in many of them. I graduated from University of Missouri-Columbia in 2009 with a degree in Theater and English, and I wanted to do every creative project that presented itself. That being said, the bulk of my professional growth took place in Denver, CO between 2010 and 2012, where I worked primarily for two companies, Bovine Metropolis Theater and Revenue Development, Inc.
At Revenue Development, Inc. I served as social media, web, and sales consultant, a role that I maintain today. RDI secures donations for PBS and NPR stations throughout the country so they can fully fund their programming and other efforts. This was a wonderful way to build a versatile set of skills that would be valuable to any organisation or company as well as valuable to me personally moving forward with my professional goals. Goals that were shaped by the following experience.
I served as Public Relations Director and Crew Coordinator for Bovine Metropolis Theater for two years where my love for arts administration truly began to flourish. Bovine Metropolis Theater was the first dedicated improvisational theater in Denver, CO producing shows, teaching improvisation, and conducting business trainings. Working at a midsize theater with multiple streams of revenue proved to be fascinating and enthralling, and I had opportunities to perform improv, which is a driving passion in everything that I do and one of the reasons that I moved to Chicago.
I loved both of these positions dearly, and I didn’t want to leave them, but I knew I wanted to go to grad school in Chicago and I wanted to see what Chicago improvisation had to offer. The choice was incredibly difficult. I count myself as extremely lucky, because before leaving for Chicago both companies offered to continue sending me projects, and they eventually became the first clients of Joshua C. D. Robinson Consulting found at JoshuaCDRobinson.com.
Why did you choose Columbia for your graduate study?
I moved to Chicago in 2012 and started searching for a graduate program that I could be happy with. My expectation of higher education has always been that it truly is what you make of it, you have to make your education work for you, so that you can crow as an academic and professional and contribute to communities with consistent and quality efforts. I wanted to find a place that would hone this theme and provide me with the skills I need to become an artistic entrepreneur, specifically in the realm of improvisational theatre.
After researching, visiting, receiving a load of very pretty mailings from a multitude of colleges, my choice could not have been more evident. Columbia College Chicago and specifically the AEMM department provided everything I could have wanted in a graduate program. The Master’s of Arts Management builds the practical acumen to become a successful arts professional while staying in touch with the heart of the artistic process. It provides a connection to the artistic community with a strong sense of social justice and the creation of value through the arts. And the class offerings balance nitty gritty knowledge and skills with the theoretical basis to understand why the arts are a pinnacle of culture in every society throughout the world. Columbia College Chicago was the obvious choice.
Additionally, Columbia’s strong connection with the art of improvisation and it’s applied uses appealed to me immediately. Though I had always thought higher education is what you make of it, I didn’t imagine before coming to Columbia that there would be a program (please forgive the egocentrism) made for me.
Tell us about a project you’re working on that you’re excited about.
Do I have to pick one? Aside from starting the Master’s of Arts Management and being a Graduate Ambassador, which is an exciting project for me to embark upon, and a delightful opportunity to represent a college that I’m falling madly in love with, I have a number of projects that I’m excited about. The project I’m most excited about is developing the public relations campaign for the Applied Improvisation Institute at Bovine Metropolis Theater.
As I mentioned before, I stayed on as a consultant for Bovine Metropolis Theater, and we developed an amazing certification program that combines the best of improvisation and the best of business training into one exceptional institute. Aii is the result of more than a year of planning, research, and development. I wrote the business plan for the product and developed a template website for the project, so I’m thrilled to see it get on it’s feet this September 10th. I wish I could say more, but a lot of the details are proprietary. Needless to say, I’m thrilled for Bovine Metropolis Theater and am looking forward to the success of this new venture.
And honestly it’s projects like this that are making it possible for me to go to Columbia College Chicago. My professional life is facilitating the most exciting professional development I could possibly engage in, a Master’s Degree in the Department of Arts, Entertainment and Media Management.