Rebecca Davison-Mora is the Communications Manager at Arcarta, a due diligence platform that supports the art market. Previously she worked in various leadership roles at arts institutions and commercial galleries in Toronto, Canada. She holds a Master’s degree in Arts and Cultural Management from King’s College London and has been awarded for her research pertaining to cultural policy and diplomacy.
We get a lot of candidates saying they’d like to work in an art tech start-up. What advice would you give to someone wanting to work in this area of the art industry?
If you have an interest in working at an art tech company but don’t have experience working in tech, don’t stress! There are so many transferable skills that come along with art experience. Art x tech is a unique intersection that requires an understanding of both industries – but if you have experience in one or the other, and have a genuine interest/desire to learn you are already 80% there. I would suggest researching companies that you are interested in, identifying the gaps in your knowledge and looking for ways to address those gaps. This could be independent learning or formal training. What is important is to show on your CV (and in person) that you have a genuine interest. I would also suggest looking for roles that fit your existing skills – for example sales positions, marketing or operations. These are all areas where you can apply transferable skills learned from working in the arts.
What skills/ attributes/ values do you believe are critical for working in a start-up?
Working for a start-up means you are usually working in a small team and will need to do a lot of independent work/thinking. In order to succeed you need to be a self-starter, flexible and creative. You will be valued for your opinion and insight, so critical thinking and self evaluation is also important. The good news is that most arts organizations require the same skill set! So, you are already equipped with the tools to jump.
What are the most positive aspects of working in a start-up?
When you work for a start-up you become part of a tight knit team working towards a common goal. There is something really special about that dynamic. You will be valued for your experience and insight, and have the chance to contribute to the growth of a company. In addition, there is a flexibility that accompanies working in tech that traditional art jobs don’t offer. Most companies will offer you some configuration of work from home, benefits and perks – contributing to a high quality of life that (especially in this economic climate) is always a positive.
What has been your journey to working where are you now?
I grew up in Canada, and worked in various gallery roles in both institutions and commercial galleries for 6 years before I moved to the UK. I moved in 2021 to pursue a Master’s degree in Arts in Cultural Management at King’s College London and simultaneously worked as head of operations for an independent art dealer in London. Upon completion of my degree I realised I needed a change and started looking for opportunities that would challenge me. I used the Arcarta platform in my previous job and saw they were hiring. I reached out (via phone, not email) and together we built a role that suited my skill set. That role eventually migrated to my current role as Communications Manager as we identified key areas of the business that needed additional support. Now I run our communication across all channels, manage our PR company, advertising presence in different publications and both our online and in person events.
Finally, what careers advice would you give to your younger self?
This is advice I think my mum or dad gave me, but that it took me too long to take. No opportunity is wasted, look at the cards you have been dealt and pick the best card. If you continually evaluate and make decisions based on this mindset you will always build towards something. Instead of trying to change the hand I had been dealt, as soon as I started following this mindset I started to actually build a career instead of jumping around from role to role. I would also advise myself to value my experience and time. In the arts there is sometimes this unspoken expectation that because you love what you do that passion will sustain you. I had many years of working late, for pay that didn’t match my education or experience. Once I began to value my time and my skills I was much happier and a better team member.
Thank you to Rebecca for taking the time to talk to us.
Notes from DRAW · 01.02.2023