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If you’re preparing for a Master’s or are interested in deepening your knowledge of the art world, we invite you to explore our range of Online Courses, including our new 8-week Art History Intensive course. We spoke to alumna Toni Clayton about the experience of taking an online course before embarking on her Master’s in Art Business at Sotheby’s Institute in London.

Why did you decide to take an Online course from Sotheby’s Institute?

I took the course before my Master’s degree because I wanted to start with more of a business background. I had no idea about business in general—no idea about markets, sectors, sales or anything really! I knew what an auction did but I didn't really know the step-by-step processes or what different types of auctions you can have.

I had time between my undergraduate degree in South Africa and my Master’s in London and I thought I’d take the course and see what I can gain from the experience. It was above and beyond what I thought it would be and I don't think I would have been as prepared for the Master’s degree without such a good footing from the online course.

"I had done a fine art undergraduate degree so this course allowed me to view the art world not from the aesthetic point of view but from a market point of view."

How did it help prepare you for your MA studies?

I had done a fine art undergraduate degree so this course allowed me to view the art world not from the aesthetic point of view but from a market point of view. By the end of the six-weeks I had learnt the terminology for the art market and understood the business sector a lot better. It really helped with my MA study, and even now as I work in the art market. The terminology is used all the time and if you don’t understand it, it can be really tricky.

Was it the first time you’d taken an online course?

I hadn't done an online course before and I was bit nervous about the experience when I started. I soon found that the interaction was incredible and the response from the lecturer was impeccable. We could interact with her online whenever we needed to. She was very attentive.

How did the experience differ from more traditional face-to-face classroom learning?

Sometimes when you're in a face to face classroom you zone in and out and miss what lecturers are saying. I really liked that during the online course you could pause what the lecturer had said, think through what they were doing and then carry on or re-listen. If you didn't understand three or four times you could ask for ask the lecturer to explain further.

The virtual-classroom brings together a global community. What were your fellow students like?

There was really a mix of people on the course. There were students like me who had just finished their undergraduate degrees, mums at home, art professionals and people who were just interested in arts. The spectrum was so wide and with people from all over the world you could discuss every sector of the market all the time.

If you do not know where to start or are confused about the path that’s right for you, do not worry. We are here to help and are happy to provide individual course advisement. Feel free to write to sharing your background and what you hope to learn, and we can make the best course suggestions for you.

toni_claytonToni Clayton - former Online and Master’s in Art Business student at Sotheby’s Institute - London.

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