Art & Design Employability

About this site


The Anatomy of Employability in Creative Arts Subjects

This website is the outcome of a collaborative project* between The Glasgow School of Art (GSA) and Bucks New University (Bucks) which began in 2012. Funded by a grant from the Higher Education Academy’s Teaching Development Fund, we explored the kinds of learning activities that helped students to develop employability skills in different art and design subject areas.

Studies indicate that students are frequently unaware of the skills they develop both inside and outside the curriculum, and they fail to articulate these in relation to wider contexts (see Shreeve and Smith 2012 for discussion of creative transfer between university and work settings**). We began by questioning what ‘employability’ means in a context in which people become creative artists and designers who might be self-employed, hold multiple jobs and roles in order to maintain their practice or work for, or with, others.

This journey began by mapping activities, across both institutions, which tutors considered gave rise to appropriate skills. We asked students what they learned through undertaking these activities and how they thought this might help them after graduation.

Workshops and visits between our institutions explored further issues. In particular, questions were raised about the role of the studio in developing ‘employability’. We also looked at the expectations of students on different courses, which emphasised the complex relationship between career desires and prospects. On this site, you will find papers, case studies and video interviews with our students, which we hope will open up the breadth of employability skills and how they are developed. Perhaps this will provide food for thought in your own development of student skills in the creative arts.

*An Anatomy of Employability: Articulating Graduate Capabilities for the Creative Arts.
** Alison Shreeve and Catherine Smith, ‘Multi-directional Creative Transfer between Practice-based Arts Education and Work’, British Education Research Journal 38:4 (2012), pp. 539–556.’