Embedded creative workers and creative work in education

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Bridgstock, Ruth S
Goldsmith, Ben
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Bridgstock, Ruth S

Goldsmith, Ben

Rodgers, Jess

Hearn, Gregory N

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In this article we examine the phenomenon of creative work and creative workers in the education sector. The article is divided in to two parts. In the first part we begin by discussing the shortcomings of top-down approaches, such as using census data to assess either the extent of creative workers’ employment in education, or the variety of contributions people with creative qualifications make in the sector. We then move on to discuss a range of research and reports from a variety of countries that bear on the employment of creative workers and graduates of creative degree programs in the education sector. Often indirectly, these reports indicate the significance of employment in the education sector for creative workers, often as a component of a portfolio career. They also highlight – again, often indirectly - some of the difficulties that arise in attempting either to accurately enumerate the size of the creative workforce in education, or to evaluate the contributions that creative workers or workers with creative training make to the education sector. We conclude this part of the article with a brief discussion of two large surveys of arts and creative graduates, one from the UK and the other from the US, focusing on their findings on embedded creative work in education.

The second part of this article reports some of the findings of a major recent survey of employment and career outcomes for graduates of creative degree programs from ten Australian universities. The survey mined a rich lode of information about graduate outcomes from the sample in general. However, in this article we focus on the findings relating to graduate employment in education occupations and industries. As discussed below, the survey covered a proportion of the degree programs that broadly correspond with the definition of creative industries and creative occupations used by the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation (CCI). 916 graduates with conferral dates from 2007 to 2012 in undergraduate degree programs in visual arts; literary arts/creative writing; performing arts/dance/drama/technical production; music; film, television, new media and animation, or in a more general creative degree program including a first major in one of the above were surveyed about their career trajectories, employment experiences and work histories to five years post-course completion. The survey produced findings that are somewhat at odds with the findings from analysis of census data, and provided insights that census analysis could not. In the conclusion to this article, we discuss some of the possible reasons for the discrepancies between the data sets, and assess the importance of the new insights for thinking about creative employment in education.

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Creative graduate pathways within and beyond the creative industries

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Higher education

Creative arts, media and communication curriculum and pedagogy

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