Artist, Activist, and Public Relations Strategist: Meet Miks C-Kellman

Artist, Activist, and Public Relations Strategist: Meet Miks C-Kellman

By: Dara Hill
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During my Co-op work term at the Deshpande Foundation in India, I was fortunate to become acquainted with Miks C-Kellman. Miks is an artist, filmmaker, director, and social campaign initiator. He is also a communications and public relations (PR) specialist. How does he reconcile his role as an artist with that of a PR professional? Under the bright and hazy sub-continental sun, I had the opportunity to ask Miks about his life as an inspiring and successful communicator.

Miks’ academic background is rooted in film and cinematography. He didn’t initially think that his career would end in up in the field of PR, but he quickly learned that “film studies and communication are closely linked.” Miks realized that strong communication and strategic PR were necessary in order to spread his message across the world. “I am a film maker and an artist with a great passion for human rights,” he explains. “I would like to inspire and motivate people and raise awareness of current injustices using artistic mediums such as film but, if I want to touch a wider audience, I need to be good at PR as well.”  This necessity was a blessing in disguise for Miks, as he discovered where his true strengths lie: “I understood that I am a lot better being a producer and a PR strategist than a film maker. I can do greater good by helping other young artists that are in the human rights field make their works seen and appreciated. That is also why I came up with the Kellman Productions platform.”

Kellman Productions  is a London-based independent production company and community of freelance artists who are passionate about film and human rights. Miks started the company in 2012 and it has since expanded into a global platform that includes artists from London, Latvia, the Netherlands, the U.S.A, and India. These artists make films, facilitate skill-training seminars, and organize events related to the arts and social awareness. Their most significant project yet is the in-progress social campaign AND YOU are CALLING ME COLOURED, a series of events and initiatives that encourage people to “not only tolerate, but actually celebrate the differences between each other.”

One would anticipate that combining these two worlds – business and art – into Kellman Productions would be challenging. Miks admits, “PR people are mainly focused on using strategies that work - that sell,” whereas, “if you are an artist also, you want to inspire and motivate the audience from the inside. You want to express your personal beliefs, regardless of what sells.” Still, he maintains that his blend of communications, PR, and art has helped him reach a larger audience, and therefore has made for an extremely successful and satisfying career. “The most exciting and rewarding part of being a human rights communication and PR strategist is to see that your art has raised questions, has made someone smile, has made someone cry. It’s all about the emotions and questions you can cultivate.”

So why did this PR specialist/artist with a successful production company in London decide to drop everything and move to India, you might ask? “As an artist, it’s important to gain experience and meet as many people as possible. Because I’m also a PR strategist, I need to understand people from all walks of life to succeed in the business. Public relations is basically business between people, after all. And as a global human rights activist, it’s important for me to see how different communities work – to hear people and their problems to best understand how to help them.”

Miks stresses the importance of travelling and experiential learning for young people. He emphasizes that “academic education, what you learn at your desk at school, is one thing, but informal education, when you are out in the world, put into uncomfortable situations and unfamiliar working environments, meeting different people… these are the moments when you actually learn things and grow as an individual. Every person you meet, place you visit and food you eat is a story.” As for his final piece of advice for those starting out in the field of communications, Miks encourages taking risks and trying things that are big and different. “You just have to DO - don’t overthink things! You have to try to get out of your comfort zone so you can truly grow as an individual. Be scared of your dreams and not your failures - if you are not scared of your dreams, they are not big enough.”

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Posted on February 27, 2015