NAME: Uršula Cetinski
BACKGROUND: Higher education: Faculty of Arts, graduated from Comparative Literature and German language, Master in Advanced Studies (Art & Media Management), Linz University, Austria
POSITION: Director General
ORGANISATION: Cankarjev dom, Culture and Congress Centre
My Background and Career
I graduated at the Faculty of Arts in Ljubljana from Comparative literature and German language. I was a scholar of KulturKontakt postgraduate program at the Jochannes Kepler University in Linz (Austria). I have a master degree in culture management (Master in advanced Studies). As a young student at Faculty of Arts I was a journalist at Radio Student, and later took over the culture editor position. I was a dramaturg and manager of a theatre group called Koreodrama, cofounder and an art director of the City of Women festival. I was a theatre and dance program manager at Cankarjev dom for eight years, a manager and art director at Mladinsko theatre also for eight years. Since the mid of October 2014 I have been a director general of Cankarjev dom. Every so often I work as a dramaturg, publicist, translator of a German language and an author of a mono-play Alma, a play about Alma Karlin, the word traveler.
The main factors of my success are constant education at art and culture management area, great passion for art, good international connections in cultural circles, a joy of working with people and managing them, rich international experiences and also some good luck in my career path.
I had a great mentor at the University in Linz, dr. Herwig Pöschl and a support of my husband, son and mother. My family always understood what my values ware.
I haven't really faced many difficulties on my career path but I worked a lot of unpaid hours in culture work area. At the beginning of my career I was often payed less as my men colleagues were, they trusted me projects that had smaller budgets and before I was named as a director general of Cankarjev dom I received some sexist comments or doubts about my abilities to lead the biggest Slovenian cultural centre.
The most useful in my career path was knowledge from different fields of art I worked in, especially in performance art and cultural management, later also knowledge and experiences in management (Kustav Käser Training). Seminars about management, expert meetings and attending different conferences were also very useful. There were also expert meetings with managers or art directors of other European and world cultural centres, festivals and theatres that were important for my career. I have an insight how similar cultural institutions all around the world function. Being fluent in English and German language helps a lot. It is also very useful to me to be able to enjoy communicating with people. My respect for people and preparedness for a dialog are key competences. I can also mention my ability to listen and really hear, understand what they are saying.
Hints & Tips
I do have a very special verse from German filmmaker and theatre director R. W. Fassbinder: »Ich war ganz unten, so lernte ich fliegen.« (I was down, so I learned to fly).
It is essential to be able to handle difficult moments and failures. It is very easy when we are successful, only in crisis a cultural manager will know if he or she is any good; in what way and how we overcome difficult moments says a lot about ourselves. This verse is a beautiful metaphor on how dark moments in our life can also be inspirational, because obstacles and difficulties can make us stronger and make us to really know ourselves.
My advice for young women would be to follow your dream bravely, demand to be treated equally and when making decision about other women's life don’t repeat the patriarchal pattern, treat them equally as you would treat the men colleagues and if possible, encourage them.