Alejandro Camacho Duarte (Hex), 21, from Wilmington, California (Los Angeles) in the USA, is currently studying MA Arts, Festival and Cultural Management full-time at QMU.

Hex always had a passion for the arts as he was growing up because his father was a theatre actor in his homeland of Mexico. His father trained professionally at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, but stopped pursuing acting after he fled the Tlatelolco Massacre and made the big move to America. However, he always pushed Hex to further his passion for writing, theatre, film and arts management.

Hex first started stage management when he was just 12 years old in middle school, where he will never forget his first production of working on My Fair Lady.

After that, Hex began to develop his creative writing skills, including small short stories and poems, until eventually he finished writing his first novel at only 16 years of age. Although he went into college to study theatre, with an emphasis on playwriting, Hex has continuously enjoyed working in a creative environment, but he couldn’t seem to narrow down what he really wanted to do or how to go about it.

Before arriving at QMU, Hex has worked on a number of independent student films that have been nominated for awards at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. He has also completed a professional writing course in Hollywood at the Second City School of Comedy with Emmy award-nominee, Holly Wortell, and two monologues he has written have been performed at University of California, Santa Barbara’s MonoFest.

Hex gained arts management experience as the Activities Director for an International English school over two consecutive summers in 2016 and 2017, as well as being Front of House Manager across arts venues in Santa Barbara, California.

 What are your highlights about living in Edinburgh?

“My favourite spot is Calton Hill. Every time I go to Edinburgh, I have to stop here. The view of the city from the top of the hill seems to get more beautiful every time!

“My favorite bar is Three Sisters. It’s a welcoming, fun and lively bar with pool, darts, and amazing drinks for a fair price.

“My favorite restaurant is Wings. It's a hidden gem in one of the closes of Edinburgh near the city centre. They mainly serve wings, as the name suggests, but they are amazing, have plenty of options, and you can play vintage video games. Raised in a Mexican home, I have a specialised tongue for spicy food. I love everything spicy and this is the second place in my entire life where the hottest food item gave me a run for my money! I love a challenge...and wings.”

Why did you choose to study MA Arts, Festival and Cultural Management at QMU?

“Both of my parents fled Mexico to pursue a better life in America, so I knew I couldn’t fail them by not taking advantage of the many educational and work experience opportunities available to me. Arts management is my chosen career, but I have my parents in my thoughts at all times.

“I haven’t found my special place yet, but I know that I’m heading in the right direction by studying MA Arts, Festival and Cultural Management at QMU.

“I chose this programme as it doesn’t break the bank for me compared with more expensive postgraduate degrees in the USA. I also chose to study at QMU because this programme offers training that falls in between the arts and its many disciplines, as well as the management of the arts.

“Also, I’ve lived in Glasgow before during studying abroad for a semester in 2016, and I’ve always felt welcomed in Scotland. It felt right to come back.”

How do you hope the programme will give the knowledge and skills you need to purse your chosen career?

“I hope the programme will help me get a better understanding of which specific field of arts, cultural and festival management I really want to pursue, as well as give me practical training of how to apply everything I’m learning into the context of a real workforce.”

How do you find the workload?

“The workload on the course has been reasonably difficult. Most modules have one or two significant assignments, rather than a larger number of smaller pieces of work, which was the opposite for most of my modules during my undergraduate studies at University of California, Santa Barbara.”

Have you received any scholarships or bursaries to support your studies at QMU?

“I’ve been awarded a combined £4,000 from the QMU International Scholarship and the Saltire Scholarship, which goes towards my international tuition fees. This has been a major help in my pursuit of postgraduate study. I wouldn’t have had the financial stability to come to Scotland without it.

These scholarships offer a discount on tuition fees for the first year, and the Saltire Scholarship in particular is match funded by the Scottish Government.

Do you combine work and study?

“First semester was really difficult as I couldn’t find any work. I needed funds for living costs as I decided to live in Glasgow. However, everything changed for the best at the turn of the new year. I’m now employed by three companies, which I interchange for hours due to visa constraints.

“I’ve now been appointed as a receptionist at Red Tree Business Suites in Bridgeton, Front of House for Glasgow’s new Radisson Red Hotel (opening March 2018), and Events Team Member for Scottish Events, which is partnered with the SSE Hydro in Glasgow.”

Do you feel you receive the support you need at QMU?

“I feel that I have received a good overall education and been open to the endless personal development opportunities that can come from a degree like this. I feel more confident going into the creative workforce with everything I’ve had the privilege to learn at QMU.”

What is your top tip for future students?

“My main word of advice to future postgraduate students on the MA Arts, Festival and Cultural Management programme at QMU, and in particular to international students, is to be assertive if you want to get practical experience. Festivals, theatre, volunteering or work experience opportunities are out there, but they are not given out so easily, so they have to be sought out consistently.”

What are your plans after graduating from QMU?

“Once I finish my degree in Scotland, I have two possible outcomes in mind. I will either stay in the UK or Europe, where I’ll do a few years abroad and find work where I can use my professional skills in an international environment. As of now, Barcelona and Berlin are viable options due to some connections I’ve made.

“The second option is to return to Los Angeles and begin my career in the creative sector, including the pursuit of film, publishing, festivals and venues, and/or museums. I’m 21 years old so I’m hopeful that I can get my foot into the professional artistic workforce and see where that can take me.”

MA Arts, Festival and Cultural Management

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