Bachelor’s/Master’s program gives Arts graduate a career kickstart

Monash Arts graduate Amy Loughlin (Bachelor of Arts/Master of Communications and Media Studies, 2020) credits Monash Arts’ Bachelor’s/Master’s program for giving her the necessary skills and knowledge to kickstart a career in the creative and cultural sector.

In her final year, Amy was given the opportunity to complete a professional internship with the Melbourne Women in Film Festival, which led to an exciting position as Social Media Coordinator.

In this interview, Amy shares why she chose to apply for the accelerated program, the benefits of completing a double degree and offers her advice to future students.

What drew you to Monash Arts’ Bachelor's/Master's program? 

There are many benefits of Monash Arts’ Bachelor’s/Master’s program, specifically when combined with a Master of Communications and Media Studies. For me, it meant retaining flexibility while I identified the specific areas of communications that I wanted to specialise in. I had access to more advanced, challenging units across a variety of subjects that interested me.

In my final year, I had the opportunity to do a research thesis and a professional internship, which proved vital in launching my career. Also, I can’t deny that the financial benefit of not paying for an extra semester’s worth of postgraduate units was a strong draw.

How did your postgraduate units differ from your undergraduate units?

One of the interesting things about the Master of Communications and Media Studies cohort is that a lot of people are coming into the degree from a variety of backgrounds. Some people might be returning to study after working multiple years in public relations, advertising or another media-related field. Other people are transferring from law and business degrees. Many of my peers came from overseas and were completing postgraduate studies in a second language.

With such a varying range of knowledge and experience, I found that our units were able to cater to all of us and never felt too far out of depth.

In your final year you completed an internship with the Melbourne Women in Film Festival. Can you tell us a little bit about this experience?

I loved my internship experience. The highlight for me was working with such a talented team of women who are all passionate about cinema and representation in a typically male-dominated industry.

It was really inspiring and exciting work, and I learnt not just about how to operate communications for a festival, but also the challenges that go into organising a film festival.

What's your most memorable experience as an intern? 

Seeing the festival come to fruition after weeks of social media strategising and promotion was such a special experience. Our opening night screening of the all-female directed Pasifika film Vai at the stunning Capitol Theatre is something I don’t think I’ll ever forget.

Completing a master’s thesis is an optional component of the program. What inspired you to apply? 

Completing a master’s thesis was a surprise for me! I didn’t expect myself to ever undertake such a huge project – I was much more attracted to the coursework aspect of my degree, not the research option.

I completed a unit titled Communications Research Methods. The major outcome of this unit is to prepare a potential research proposal on a media subject you’re interested in, the same way you might prepare a research proposal for a thesis.

I pursued an idea I was interested in, not thinking too much of it at the start. As time went on and I developed my concept with the help of my teacher, I became invested in the topic. It was timely, relevant and I was extremely passionate about it. I didn’t want to let it go. When it came time to select more elective units in Part C of my degree, it became a no-brainer that I would apply to pursue my research in a minor thesis.

What was your thesis topic?

My thesis was titled, “The ‘Death of Cinema’ in 2019: An exploration of ‘death of cinema’ discourse surrounding the state of digital film as a practice, ideology, and industry.”

I wrote about how previous conceptions about what makes something ‘cinematic’ manifest as fear in reaction to digital developments in the film industry, such as the onset of streaming services, smartphones, and computer-generated imagery technology.

What did you discover about yourself during your thesis?

My thesis has been the most important part of my academic career thus far. I learnt so much about myself – how I work, how I react to pressure, and how to create a huge long-form project that I could be proud of. With the guidance of my amazing supervisor, Dr Maura Edmond, I tested the limits of my own knowledge and I became a stronger writer and researcher because of it. Most importantly, out of the challenge, I allowed myself to explore my passions to the fullest potential and learnt more about what I want from my professional career in the future.

How did this program help prepare you for your career?

The double degree structure provided me with a well-rounded knowledge of academic media, public relations and professional communication. I engaged in a wide variety of independent and group work and I have gained more professional skills because of it.

What advice would you give to other students who are considering the Bachelor’s/Master’s program?

Do your research and speak directly to course coordinators about your concerns. If I hadn’t reached out and met those people directly, I would've never known I could pursue it as an option, and I would've just assumed it was out of my grasp.

What are you currently doing? What are your future plans?

I’ve only just stepped out of my degree so I’m just entering my career. My internship with the Melbourne Women in Film Festival has led to a permanent position with their team of volunteer staff working in communications and social media. I have also landed the position of Short Films Programmer with the Environmental Film Festival Australia.

Working in film festival management and curation is my dream field and represents all of the different areas I sought to specialise in during my degree. I’m absolutely over the moon to be doing this work. I didn’t think I’d get my foot in the door so soon out of my degree!

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Bachelor's/Master's program