Ankna Arockiam on Arts Leadership and Fundraising

Ankna Arockiam is currently undertaking her PhD, exploring the musical, cultural and social identities of young people learning Western classical music in India. In 2019, Ankna undertook the Arts Leadership and Fundraising module at RCS, which is currently being offered as one of the fully-funded online courses through the National Transition Training Fund to enable those working in the arts impacted by the pandemic to develop additional skills.

We spoke to Ankna to find out her motivations for taking this course, what insights she gained, and what she has been able to take forward in her own career.

Why did you enrol on the Arts Leadership and Fundraising programme? What were your aims for doing this course?

As a musician and an international student, my knowledge about fundraising in the UK and internationally was limited. I decided to enrol on the Arts Leadership and Fundraising course to learn more about this important aspect of the field of arts.

Also, as someone who has been heavily involved with student representation and leadership (Ankna was previously Students’ Union President at RCS), I was keen to further develop my leadership skills.


Tell us about your experience with this short course. What did you study/what projects did you develop?

The course was very different from any of the other courses I had undertaken at RCS. It focused on the practical and everyday aspects of being a musician in the ever-changing music scene. I worked on two projects, and one included setting up a women’s singing group. While most of the work was independent, we had the opportunity to discuss our ideas and findings in the class and with our tutor, Helen McVey.

On looking back, what were some of the most useful/practical things you gained from undertaking the course? Have you been able to use any of the learnings in your work so far?


This course was invaluable – it opened many other avenues and gave me a better understanding of skills needed for fundraising, organising, and developing projects, financial aspects, and much more.

Learning with other artists from across the conservatoire, and from various departments and specialisms, created a hub of collaborators. The course also gives you the space to explore ideas and projects.

I have since set up a South-Asian Women’s Singing Group in Glasgow which I had worked on as a project during this course.


What advice would you give to someone thinking of enrolling on the course?


I would highly recommend this programme to all who work in the performing arts. It is very rewarding to work with people from other disciplines – it creates a collaborative atmosphere that helps the arts thrive. I personally think that courses like this help build a portfolio career.


Want to continue your professional development?

We are now accepting applications for the credit-rated short course Arts Leadership and Fundraising, with the course due to begin in September 2021. If you live in Scotland, are aged 25+ and have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, you can apply for full funding to meet the tuition fees of this credit-rated short course.

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