Best of two worlds

29 September 2017 - ANNA OLAUSSON

Mathilde Emilie Johnsen, Head of Marketing at the Astrup Fearnley Museet in Oslo, brings together marketing and art.

A s a child, Mathilde was fascinated by museums. And in her twenties she decided to work at the Astrup Fearnley Museet in Oslo, one of Scandinavia’s premier art museums.

What have been the defining moments in your career?
I was working in the museums reception for about a year and a half, and I was getting ready to apply for other jobs after I finished my studies. One day, management called me to let me know the position as booking- and events manager had opened up, and that the person who had the position wanted me to have it. That gave me a great chance to grow, learn and prove myself, and I am forever grateful for that.

What is most inspiring about your job as Head of Sponsorship and Marketing?
Getting to work in a field where there is really no right answers but lots of possibilities. Being inspired by the creativity, and not working purely for the profit. I truly believe that art enriches our lives, and that in my opinion is always worth working for! Oh, and going swimming in the fjord during lunch break is also an attribute!

When did you know you wanted to focus on marketing?
Even though I am educated in marketing, I was not a hundred percent sure I wanted to work in this area before I was given the opportunity. The relationship between marketing and the arts does not really have a long history. When marketing the arts it is important to understand that there is a fine line between getting your message out to a wider audience with a positive outcome, and the risk of making your message too commercial and thereby detracting from the product.

Do you have a favourite artwork at the museum?
That’s a tough one! But I have a weak spot for Apparazione from 1992 by Sigmar Polke.

What is your next career step?
I dream of working abroad for the big contemporary art museums – Tate, MoMa, LACMA, MACBA…
What BI-knowledge do you value most?
I always think about the business side of things when making decisions, such as how to increase sales, grow audiences and strengthen the brand.


  • AGE: 26
  • LIVES IN: Oslo
  • COMPANY: Astrup Fearnley Museet
  • JOB TITLE: Head of Sponsorship and Marketing
  • WORKS WITH: Marketing activities, communication, events and sponsorships
  • PROGRAMME AT BI: Bachelor in Arts and Management 2013
  • TV-SERIES: Skam, Girls, Planet Earth and Geordie Shore!
  • BEST ABOUT OSLO: The fjord, the islands, the forest and the mountains

Reference: Advantage #1/2017 – The magazine for members of BI Alumni

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