Meet Francesca Bellini-Joseph, Sotheby’s Institute of Art - Online Faculty and Latin American Consultant at ArtTactic.
Where did it all begin for you? How did you develop a passion for art?
Very early in my life I knew I was going to live and work in the world of art. My family saw a genuine interest and talent for the arts in me and were keen to create circumstances in which I could develop appropriate skills and knowledge. Convinced that I wanted to be an artist, I studied a BA in Fine Arts at La Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá. However, instead of pursuing an artistic career, I fostered one in the art market. This ultimately led to my enrolment on the MA in Art Business at Sotheby's Institute in London. It was a life-changing experience as it triggered my curiosity and interest in entrepreneurship, art market analysis, art insurance, art and finance and many other topics. My background as an artist has proved a major advantage to my understanding of the opportunities and challenges of the art market, and it has also added value to my professional life. Every day I continue to develop and fuel my passion for art.
Tell us about your career trajectory and how you came to work for Sotheby’s Institute of Art?
I already had 7 years of professional experience in the art market when I started my Master’s and this made me more responsive to the academic content offered on the course. I saw an opportunity through Sotheby´s Institute that would allow me to advance my career in and enhance my understanding of the art market. My dissertation supervisor Jeremy Eckstein was a great supporter and invited me to assist him in his Sotheby’s Institute of Art - Online course ‘Understanding Trends in the Art Market’. The Online faculty then gave me the opportunity to design and teach a course, and this is how Art as a Global Business become part of the Institute´s offerings. The course has been running since 2013.
In your experience as the Online course instructor of ‘Art as a Global Business: Dynamics of the Art Market’, how do the Sotheby’s Institute of Art Online courses lend themselves to learning about the art world?
Students have different reasons and motivations for taking this course; sometimes it´s professional as they look to advance or change their careers, and sometimes personal as they look to acquire new knowledge in areas of their interest. Regardless of what the motivation is, the Sotheby’s Institute of Art - Online experience has so much to offer those looking to unlock the mysteries of, and get a more solid approach to, the fascinating topic of the art market. Moreover, the Institute´s Online offerings give students the possibility to combine some of the various courses on offer to enrich and complement their views of art.
“Sotheby’s Institute of Art - Online experience has so much to offer those looking to unlock the mysteries of the art market”
What can students expect to learn on the ‘Art as a Global Business: Dynamics of the Art Market’ Online course?
Students can expect to learn about and enhance their vision of the art market. The art market is like the elephant in the Indian story and we are the blind men. People have exposure to a very limited part of it and yet they tend to believe they have a full picture of it. This course unveils parts of the animal giving us the critical thinking skills to understand the many complexities of the art market.
How does being an active professional in the art world as well as an instructor and lecturer benefit those who you teach at Sotheby’s Institute of Art on the Online programs?
A practitioner with an art background, I invite students to look at the art market from various perspectives that are theoretical and practical in equal measure. Every session of Art as a Global Business is different as new developments happen in the art market, and this means that participants have the possibility to test academic and theoretical assumptions against practice. Students finish the course with an academic understanding of the topic as much as awareness of the state of the current art market. This allows them to continue experiencing the art world with greater confidence.
In your opinion, what advantages are there to studying online?
I feel that the main advantage is that of having an alternative. In the recent past the alternative option of learning online was not readily available so those who were interested in pursuing further learning had to deal with issues such as distance, cost, work and family which often made it challenging or unrealistic. Online learning creates the possibility for anyone to expand their knowledge in any area of their interest by minimising these issues. Moreover, it also connects like-minded people from many parts of the world, while creating a space in which they can exchange ideas and experiences unique to their lives or context. So, whatever the individual circumstances are, online learning becomes a great way to continue adding value to our lives especially when time and ability to relocate is limited.
What advice would you have for someone starting out in their career in the international art world?
The art world is an industry of knowledge and to build this knowledge is core in developing a career in the art market. The piece of advice I would give is to keep studying, viewing, analysing, and developing critical thinking abilities.
Francesca Bellini-Joseph is a London-based entrepreneur, and Consultant Lecturer both for the Online and Continuing Education department and the MA in Art Business at Sotheby’s Institute of Art. Francesca is a leading expert in the Latin American art market and the Latin American Consultant at ArtTactic. She has extensive experience in VIP management having worked at Frieze Art Fair and the Arts & Patronage Summit: The Middle East, among others. Francesca has collaborated with various newspapers and magazines including The Financial Times and BBC World Services. She has over ten years of experience in art market analysis, collection management and VIP coordination across the UK, the US, Latin America and the Middle East. Francesca holds a Distinction for her MA in Art Business at Sotheby ́s Institute (London) and a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from La Universidad de Los Andes (Bogotá).