Mass Media Training for Arts Makers

In September 2020, arts journalist Sharmilla Ganesan conducted a series of workshops for former resident artists at Rimbun Dahan. These workshops were supported by British Council and Yayasan Sime Darby, as one of the Hubs Clinic Grants, part of the Hubs for Good program.

Communication is essential for art makers, to explain the context and importance of your work to the media and to a general audience. This workshop focused on how to talk about your work and how to get the best out of media interviews. The focus was on making art more accessible to connect with a general audience.

In the four 90-minute Zoom sessions, the 17 participants learned to craft a story around their work.

The workshop was conducted by Sharmilla Ganesan, a culture journalist with almost 14 years of experience, currently the presenter/producer of the arts show Front Row at radio station BFM 89.9. Read more about the trainer…

 

The following video shows highlights from the mock interviews with the participating artists, presenting their work to the general public:

 

We have condensed the main suggestions from the workshop into this handy guide:

Hints & Tips for Mass Media Interviews [PDF, 326KB]

 

About the Trainer

Sharmilla Ganesan is a presenter/producer with BFM 89.9, where she hosts Front Row, the radio station’s arts show. On the programme, she covers the Malaysian arts and culture scene in a variety of ways, including interviews, discussions, analysis, and critical reviews. These encompass the various culture genres, such as performing arts, visual arts, and music. Besides this, she is also the co-host for By the Book (literature), Popcorn Culture (movies and pop culture), and The Daily Digest (current affairs).

Sharmilla is also a writer and critic, with in-depth experience covering and commenting on Malaysian arts and culture. Sharmilla comes from a journalistic background of almost 14 years in Malaysia. She was a features journalist with The Star for over a decade, where she wrote extensively on the arts, books, and film – these included interviews, analytical pieces, news, and reviews. She was also runner-up for the Malaysian Press Institute’s award for Best Column 2016, for her literary column in The Star. She has further been published in, among others, The Atlantic, South China Morning Post, NewNaratif, ArtsEquator, and travel3sixty.

During her time as a Fulbright/Hubert H. Humphrey Fellow in the University of Maryland in 2015/2016, Sharmilla focused on the study of culture journalism, which involved discussions with various arts and media organisations in Maryland, Washington D.C., and New York City. As part of this, she worked with Day Eight, a D.C.-based arts journalism non-profit to assess candidates for an arts-writing fellowship and judge an arts-writing award. Sharmilla continued exploring culture journalism during her Asia Journalism Fellowship at the National University of Singapore in 2017, where she researched the development of the field in Singapore.