Looking at the job force post-pandemic, media outlets such as The Washington Post and The Atlantic have shared insights on how the current work environment might evolve. Many of these forecasts involve businesses transitioning to less contact and more remote models.
These forecasts are promising for performing arts careers. Arts, design, entertainment, sports and media jobs rank in the 75th percentile of careers that are telework-compatible compared to salary, according to Greg Ip, Wall Street Journal. Careers in these industries are considered high-skilled and since high-skilled workers mostly produce knowledge, words and ideas, their work can be delivered from any location with high-speed internet.
Take, for example, communication professionals and journalists. According to FIU Journalism + Media associate professor Alejandro Alvarado, the pandemic allows opportunities for media companies to improve their digital platforms. When the pandemic began earlier this year, FIU’s Univision STEP program transitioned to remote work. Student journalists were still able to produce content and get a feel for working in a real newsroom while at home.
This shift to a more remote environment may benefit organizations accustomed to digital interaction, but many career fields that depend on close proximity to rehearse and deliver their “product,” such as the performing arts, have been temporarily brought to a halt by the pandemic. Experts, though, predict these careers will quickly adapt.
“Careers will continue to evolve as life and technology progress, requiring professionals ‘on stage’ and behind the scenes to be experts in ideas, life, expression and the diversifying delivery systems for conveying entertainment to the public,” says director of Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs Michael Spring.
University community reimagines how the arts are learned, shared
FIU School of Music alumnus and Worlds Ahead graduate Jacobo Nitsch-Velasquez ’14 believes the music profession will evolve moving forward.
He is the current dean of music and visual arts at the Universidad Da Vinci de Guatemala, which has collaborated with FIU Music in areas such as research, scholarships and student/faculty exchanges.
“I think there will be many shifts in the music industry… There will be a new space for performances through the (virtual) ‘lives’ and pay-per-view concerts. It would open the path for indie musicians [to increase discoverability]... Probably, music as we know it will change, and we need to be ready to move forward in terms of composition, performance and the dissemination of our work.”
Assistant conductor of the Miami Symphony Orchestra and FIU School of Music alumnus Luis D. Aguilar ’20 says, “now is the time for outside-the-box ideas.” The demand for art is still there and artists are tasked to not just be the "best in their fields," but to be creative enough to find solutions that overcome the industry’s current roadblocks.
“FIU´s mentorship in the realm of music education prepared me for this moment," Nitsch-Velasquez says. "I gained confidence in my creative mind, not just as a source of ideas, but also in how I select the best team members and enhance them with other people’s ideas.”
FIU is consistently providing opportunities for performing arts students, faculty and alumni to share their craft with the community and engage with their professions virtually.
Now, more than ever, performers are coming together to share knowledge and experiences that can better prepare the upcoming generation for what comes next. A recent three-day FIU Theatre Alumni Conference brought together more than 100 FIU Theatre alumni and students for 10 virtual career-focused panels.
Notable alumni shared their experiences and gave advice to students via Zoom. Panels and discussions covered topics on discovering one’s journey and role in a new career landscape as well as how to develop a new play and get discovered in a changing arts world.
FIU Theatre’s video blog series, The Class Must Go On, was created as a behind the scenes series that shows how theatre students have been staying motivated while working remotely. In both instances, students adapted and improved their technical skills to provide high-quality content remotely.
The School of Music hosted student juries and virtual capstone recitals, which allowed them to virtually participate in and analyze live and pre-recorded online student performances. FIU Music will also be launching FIU Music Magazine this summer in order to connect with and profile its students and alumni. The department also currently links alumni with students by inviting them back virtually for weekly music forums, which are gatherings that hone students’ instrument skills and techniques, as well as share valuable advice into the worlds of music business and music operations.
While the future of performing arts careers and all careers, in general, may seem uncertain, FIU students are preparing for an ever-evolving workforce while showcasing their adaptability and resilience.