Friday, July 13, 2012

Origin Story

I realize that I've been here for almost two weeks and, in all that time, have failed to use this blog to explain what it is exactly I'm doing here in Edinburgh, aside from having the time of my life.

(Me on my first day of school)

I am currently participating in a program run by the University of Edinburgh's Business school, called Business in the Arts. The course is one month long and uses 6 or so modules to provide us students with the foundations of business and management, with a particular emphasis on their practical applications in the arts. So far the program has been absolutely wonderful. The guest lecturers (all of whom are tied to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in some capacity) have been insightful and informative. Even though it's only been two weeks, their topics have covered such an immense expanse of fields and responsibilities. It's amazing to think that, essentially, they are all working together on the same project; the Fringe Festival. The core teachers for the program have also been fantastic. My biggest fear going into to this program was what if I just don't or can't get it? What if business and I just don't mix? But I've come to see that that worry was totally unnecessary. Not only are the lessons accessible but they are genuinely interesting as well. I didn't ever expect to have a passion for anything business related. I believed, and still do, that having some knowledge of business and management skills are useful. But, the truth of the matter is, arts management is cool!

The second month of the program, though, is where things get really exciting. Starting in August, and running through the better part of the month, the Fringe Festival hits Edinburgh. The Fringe Festival is a festival whose artistic mission centers around providing an open forum for any and everyone to come tell their stories and share their artistry. For me, it's like Disneyland and DisneyWorld combined. It's an actor's wonderland. For one amazing month, it's the epicenter of the theatrical community. But, even more than that, for one month this city epitomizes everything I believe in about theater; it becomes a place where stories are shared and heard, not  purely to turn a profit or win an award, but because telling and receiving stories is an innate part of the human experience. This festival understands that theater is a universal language that can be utilized to spark global dialogues that might not otherwise happen. It's an amazing place.

(My fellow program-mates in front of Scotland's little ode to the Summer Olympics)

And I am lucky enough to be interning here. The second part of the program, after the academic component, is an internship with the Fringe Festival. Even though I just recently got my internship placement, I haven't been given the go ahead to mention the company's name in this blog. As soon as I do I will be sure to write about it in much more detail. I can, however, tell you that it's an absolutely amazing company and I can't fully express how privileged I am to have the chance to work with them. This company has a long history with the Fringe and I can't wait to learn and absorb everything I can from them. 

So that's what I'm doing here this summer. But before I end this post, there's something else I need to address. I've told you what I'm doing here but not how I got here. There are few people that deserve a public thank you and I'm just sorry it's taken me so long to sit down and write a post about it. First of all, I owe a huge thank you to Northwestern's Women's Educational Aid Association. These women made an investment in my future that I will happily spend the rest of my life trying to repay. Their generosity and kindness has meant the world to me. The other two people I have to thank are my parents. And I'm not just thanking them because they read this blog. I will probably never truly comprehend all they've gone without and sacrificed to ensure that I could have all the opportunities I've had. My attendance on this program is no different. It also takes a lot of courage to support such a wandering spirit for a daughter and it's only because I know that I always have the two of them to return home to that I can wander so openly and so freely. Thank you. 

(A bird's eye view of Edinburgh on a misty afternoon)


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