As part of the Duke Arts Festival, Duke Entertainment Media and Arts Network (DEMAN) Weekend returns for its fourth year this fall. Duke alumni who work professionally in arts, media and entertainment will come back to Duke to interact with undergraduates in hopes of providing them with a network of arts-related opportunities after they graduate. The festival showcases student dancers, musicians, actors and poets in different performance spaces on campus, including the new Arts Annex off of Campus Drive. One of the main goals of DEMAN is to expose alumni to undergraduates seriously engaged in the arts on campus.
For undergraduates interested in the arts and media industries, this is an opportunity to fill in the gaps left by a more predominant corporate presence on campus. While plenty of large consulting firms and investment banks are able to recruit actively with stand-alone receptions and meet-and-greet events, most arts-related companies do not have the resources to travel from campus to campus. That is one of the reasons that DEMAN is beneficial not only as a form of exposing students to possible careers in these fields, but convenient for the professionals returning to campus for recruitment opportunities.
The returning alumni also get a chance to interact with the campus again. Not only do they tour the revamped Duke arts facilities like the Hull Avenue Dance Studios, the Carpentry Shop, Smith Warehouse and Baldwin Auditorium; this year the programming will introduce alumni participation in some arts classes during the first day of DEMAN Weekend.
Additionally, alumni will have a panel discussion at the Nasher Museum of Art, followed by a reception designed for students and faculty to ask relevant career questions and have time for one-on-one conversations in a casual atmosphere. There will also be a chance for undergraduates to attend several workshops and interact more purposefully with the DEMAN alumni.
“The one change we are working on this year is to work with student organizations to develop more structured interactions with alumni,” Scott Lindroth, Vice Provost of the Arts, wrote in an email. “Our goal is to make these sessions as relevant as possible for students and alumni.”
The only remaining issue that some students have about DEMAN Weekend is its timing. Trinity Senior Lauren Niculescu wasn’t able to attend last year like many other juniors who went abroad in the fall. With many students receiving job offers from their summer internships, Niculescu also expressed concern about the benefit to seniors who want to finalize their jobs early in the semester.
“The deadline that the Duke Career Center sets for summer internship offer acceptance is before the DEMAN Weekend,” said Niculescu. “It’s hard for seniors to use this opportunity when they have to know their career plans so early.”
That is why DEMAN aims to attract students of every year, emphasizing that it is never too early to start making alumni connections and discovering alternate paths after Duke. The event is less about reviewing resumes and more about engaging conversations that can be meaningful in themselves and lead to a further discussion about specific job opportunities in the arts and media.
The focus of the event is to form a symbiotic relationship and continue to attract alumni who want to share their experiences with students year after year. Last year, Delta Rae, a local band formed by recent Duke recent graduates, performed at the welcome luncheon. Kara DioGuardi, a former American Idol judge and songwriter for many pop singers including Kelly Clarkson and Christina Aguilera, talked to students about her experience as a Political Science major at Duke and her post-graduate career. Alumni return from as far away as Los Angeles, but many continue to work in the Triangle area.
With over 100 returning for the festival, DEMAN Weekend has become a valuable addition to the Career Fair for students who are already thinking beyond Duke.
DEMAN Weekend will take place at the tail end of the Duke Arts Festival, which runs from October 26 to November 4.