Art world heads back to school as Frieze Academy launches

Lectures and courses are designed to further careers of arts professionals


The Frieze franchise is expanding to coincide with its 25th anniversary this year. In addition to establishing one of the world’s biggest art fairs and publishing one of the leading contemporary art magazines, Matthew Slotover and Amanda Sharp have launched Frieze Academy, a programme of talks and courses designed to educate and help further the careers of arts professionals including gallerists, journalists and artists.

Having launched its first course on 16 January, Frieze Academy is currently hosting its third series of lectures, which focuses on the business of running a gallery. The first talk on 25 January covered aspects such as hiring staff and cashflow management; the second on 1 February will deal with specifics such as shipping, insurance and maintaining databases; and the third course on 8 February will draw on the expertise of dealers Sadie Coles and Lisa Panting, who are due to reveal their tips including how to apply and show at art fairs. The three lectures are sold together and cost £149.

The aim of this particular series, Slotover says, is to provide insight into the inner workings of galleries, which are often shrouded in mystery. “No one started out as an expert,” he says. “It’s easy to be snobbish about people who don’t know about the industry, but we all started out like that.”

The three topics were identified as “gaps in the market”, Slotover says, adding: “The first two lectures might seem more mundane, but they are crucial to ensure you aren’t struggling to run your gallery down the line. It’s a difficult business, you have to combine the commercial aspect with the artistic side of things.”

There are plans to expand the Frieze Academy programme so that courses could run for one or two terms, or even be rolled out internationally. Currently, lectures are held at the Frieze London offices at Rochelle, a cultural hub in east London. “As formal education becomes increasingly expensive, short courses can offer good value for money,” Slotover says.