Originally from New Zealand, Professor Annetta Latham works as an assistant professor in Arts and Cultural Management at MacEwan University in Edmonton, Canada. Professor Latham was also responsible for the development of an articulation agreement between Queen Margaret University (QMU) and MacEwan University, and is currently undertaking a PhD at QMU.
Where are you from originally?
I am a New Zealander, currently living in Canada. I have also lived and worked in Melbourne, Sydney, and Aberdeen.
Where do you work and what is your job?
I am an Assistant Professor in Arts and Cultural Management at MacEwan University in Edmonton, Canada. This means I give lectures, develop courses, am an active researcher, and recently have developed a Scotland cultural tour for MacEwan and Humber College (Toronto) students and an articulation agreement between QMU and MacEwan University.
How did you come to be in your current job?
A good friend of mine made me aware of the job while I was living in Melbourne, Australia, and after a three-day interview process (which was all done via Skype) and six months of working out visas, I arrived in Canada in March 2016 to take up my current position.
Why did you choose to study with QMU?
Because of David Stevenson and his knowledge and research into cultural policy, which aligned with my PhD topic. He also came highly recommended.
What is the focus of your PhD?
‘What it means to fail, and is the bidding process enough? - a comparative study of the work undertaken in the bidding process for the City of Culture in three unsuccessful cities, and the extent to which the bidding process has positively influenced cultural policy outcomes and cultural ecology within bidding communities.’
The research will investigate three of the 41 cities that have engaged with the United Kingdom City of Culture (UKCoC) bidding process, focusing first on Paisley, then on two subsequent cities, possibly Dundee and Sheffield, ascertaining how the bidding process was managed, what cultural policies were introduced or changed to align with the application criteria, and how the bidding process engaged the creative industry.
The research will explore the extent to which the process of applying for the UKCoC initiated a positive transformation of the cultural ecology (Holden, 2015) of each city.
What has been the highlight of your studies with QMU so far?
There has been a number of them. Firstly meeting my fellow PhD colleagues and developing a network of support from others studying. The doctoral weeks and conferences have been excellent.
The caliber of my supervisors is extremely high and I’d have to say that has been a huge bonus. I’ve also received huge support from the graduate department team both in grant support and day-to-day admin support.
How are your studies helping with your personal development?
They are helping me focus and fine-tune my career development, thinking about where I want to go and what I want to do, and importantly, developing my networks.
How do you think your studies are equipping you with the skills/knowledge to development your career?
Connecting networks within the sector, my PhD has enabled me to gain access to people I would not have normally been able to connect with – this is largely through my supervisors.
Advice for fellow PhD students
What is your top tip for studying a PhD, based on your own experience?
Work on achievable tasks. Project management it – break it down into manageable pieces and allow yourself realistic timelines. It’s also important to take a break from time to time.
Did you receive any funding to help support you with your studies at QMU?
Yes, I have received two types. I’ve received funding from my employer, and I’ve also received partial financial support from QMU through the articulation agreement between MacEwan University and QMU.
Tell us about the partnership between MacEwan and QMU?
It’s an articulation agreement where MacEwan's Arts and Culture Management students who have a degree can articulate into the QMU Master's programme. I’m excited that two students have done this, with another two starting in the next year.
What are your plans after completing your PhD at QMU?
That’s a case of watch this space as it’s a few years away, but I am already in some initial conversations with some people and am keeping my options open at this point.
[Published May 2019]
"Connecting networks within the sector, my PhD has enabled me to gain access to people I would not have normally been able to connect with – this is largely through my supervisors."