Art & Design Employability



This project was supported by a Collaborative Teaching Development Grant from the Higher Education Academy. A joint venture between Glasgow School of Art and Bucks New University School of Art and Design, it explored employability and what that might mean for art and design subjects.

The project began with a meeting of course leaders from both institutions who explored their own subject-based understanding of what employability meant and what kinds of teaching and learning activities contributed to student employability skills. There are distinctive differences between design and fine art, where the fundamental basis for creative production is focused on the client in design based subjects, or the individual’s output as an artist.

A mapping exercise across both institutions with a range of courses from undergraduate and taught postgraduate required course teams to consider where employability skills were developed in the curriculum and how often these happened. Individual activities were then developed with selected course teams and participating students to explore more fully how particular activities supported employability. These ranged from undertaking an artists’ residence to organising an industry panel via PechaKuchas in London and Glasgow and creating visual representations of a professional identity. At various points in the project students and staff from both institutions met for workshops and exchange of ideas.

Students led many of the workshops and evaluated their experiences, contributing to the web site which provides an insight into the wide ranging debates and issues which the project raised. These examples and illustrations are provided as a prompt for others to develop activities and/or question where and how students develop the necessary skills and knowledge to make maximum use of their creative art and design education. The self-awareness and confidence required to do this is one of the key findings of the project; students need to articulate and understand that employability is more than a collection of practical skills, and their education can and should provide this.

(Further information regarding the aims and outcomes of the Anatomy of Employability: Articulating Graduate Capabilities for the Creative Arts project can be found here .)