Edinburgh University BizSoc’s Art & Business Event: Is Art Really Open to Everyone?
Edinburgh University BizSoc recently organised an event, ‘Art & Business’, offering Business students insight into the art world through a panel discussion, questions and networking.
The main goal, according to organiser Alex Kostina, an Economics & Management Science student at the university, was to show that the art industry isn’t restricted to the handful of high-profile companies and roles we tend to read about. There are infinite possibilities, and you don’t have to be an Art Historian.
Angus Milner-Brown, Director of Sotheby’s Edinburgh office, Imogen Prus, Gallery Partnerships Manager at Artsy, and renowned art collector, Alexey Sytnikov, made up the panel. Three different speakers; three different insights into the art industry.
Angus Milner-Brown and Alexey Sytnikov, both from finance backgrounds, were quick to dispel any rumours that Business students can’t consider a career in the arts. After four years as a Stockbroker in London, Angus swapped his suit and tie to explore castles and country homes in search of valuable antiques. He now runs Sotheby’s Edinburgh office and has “the best job in the world.”
It’s his experience in banking that art collector Alexey thanks for giving him his shrewd approach to buying art. He insists that Business and Finance students have valuable skills to offer creative companies: attention to detail, negotiation and adaptability.
Imogen Prus was the only panellist to boast an Art History degree. However, most of her colleagues at Artsy did not study art, and it’s precisely this diversity that makes her love her job. “Our conversations have a richness to them because we’re coming from different mind-sets and different sets of questioning. I think that’s what makes it so stimulating.”
The panellists all agreed that the art industry really is open to everyone. The only essential ingredient? Passion.
But a wider message that emerged from the event is that art itself should be open to everyone too. Imogen revealed that Artsy’s vision is to make art accessible to the masses; not something only to be seen hanging on gallery walls. They want to achieve for art what Spotify has done for music: “it’s a big feat, but we’re going for it.”
Angus outlined a similar strategy of Sotheby’s, who have just bought two tech companies: an art comparison software set up by the creators of Spotify and a platform used to sell mid-range art online.
Alex Kostina hopes to organise a whole series of these events, bringing in a range of speakers who can shed even more light on different areas of the art world and continue to untangle the link between Art & Business.
By Poppy Jackson