Samantha Gilbert on What’s Important In The Art World

21 Aug 2019

Samantha Gilbert is a leader in the field of talent and organizational development, having led human resources within renowned organizations for more than 25 years. She has recently become a member of Christie’s Education Art World Professional Advisory Group, delivering insights on employability across all sectors of the art world to benefit our master’s programmes and the professional development of our students. 

What piece of advice would you have liked to receive while you were studying?

More help than advice in exploring a full range of possible careers. Academic counsellors seem limited in their understanding of how areas of study can serve as a springboard to diverse and interesting careers. For example, a law degree does not only open the door to lawyering. An art history or philosophy degree does not only lead to teaching.  

How important it is to have a professional mentor in the art world?

A mentor can help accelerate someone’s career. Mentors share their experiences and provide coaching to help access new areas of work to learn how to effectively navigate workplace dynamics. 

What is the key to success in the art world?

My definition of success is not measured by position, title, or wealth. It is measured by the depth of relationships and how those relationships enable you to do your best work. With that context, integrity followed by passion for the work, treating people with dignity and fairness, and tolerance for the wild and wacky are all important.  

How do you support the next generation of art world professionals?

I am most interested in helping in some way to broaden the socio-economic, gender and racial diversity of people employed as professionals in the arts sector. Museums, the performing arts and the commercial art world - auction houses and galleries - are sorely lacking the talents and experiences of diverse leadership. That needs to change.