Management: Transparency and respect

For an artist learning about management is crucial. A winning relationship demands clear and transparent working practise, plus the manager must respect the artist and vice versa. This “respect” must be discernible through day to day working practice and communication.

Managers and artists can have unhealthy relationships. The maternal relationship and the older sibling relationship may be okay – for some, not I – but only if business is taken care of in the first instance. (If not they can be pernicious smoke screens that mask inadequacy and inability to get the basic tasks of the job done.) All manager and artist need do to succeed is take care of their respective business, understand each others role clearly and deliver the goods. Communicate. It is from here that respect grows and relationship forms.

I’ve been writer and artist for twenty five years managed by some incredible and not so incredible people; Elliot Rashman of Simply Red, Peter Elliot of Blasthard – now at primary talent, William Morris Associates, David Higham Associates, Peter Fraser Duncan. And presently I’ve a projects manager in Gill Lloyd of Artsadmin and a spoken word manager in Lakin and McCarthy.

I ask two things of management: respect as an active rather than abstract notion and transparency in working practice. By transparency I mean of finance, communication, and any other area. There is no space for defensiveness or hidden agenda between manager and artist. Respect and transparency: These two elements are the bedrock of the relationship in the centre of what is a torrent of information and demands.

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