Monday, December 12, 2005

I have a hunch...

Now I know I've mentioned this before but what started as a vague hunch is transforming into an idea or an opinion at least. Okay so first of all let me set the scene it's Wolverhampton 1991-1994, School of Art and Design 7th floor, (the school of fine art) off a long corridor there are light and airy (often cold in winter) rooms (I will refer to them as studios) in each studio there are between 1 and 6 students sometimes the studio is full, sometimes empty. Each student has their own space, their studio space.

Unlike most students these are not governed by a rigid timetable of lectures, essay deadlines and workshops. Instead they are given briefs to work to, often devised through negotiation with their lecturer (client) and then they are left to get on with it. Although the lecturer will appear from time to time over the coming weeks/months the student will only get to see him/her if they schedule an appointment (meeting). But for the most part they will get on with their work, will require self-discipline and motivation and will often seek the support of their fellow students(colleagues, networks)to bounce ideas around and brain storm.

At an agreed time the groups of students will present their work for critique, they will be required to present to a group of fellow students and lecturer (colleagues and clients) and be prepared to defend the rigor of their work. They may also be required to find an external avenue for presenting this work (a gallery space), requiring negotiating with external groups and orgnaisations.

Okay so what's my point? Well this is a brief outline of the type of education I experienced. And experience is the right word, the transition from Art school to the real world, although painful in some ways was quite straight forward. Well what did I need? Oh yes a studio space (check), some clients (check), some self-discipline and motivation(Check, check). My point is that this sort of experiential learning is not so far removed from the idea of an incubation unit.

The Creative Industries have very high levels of self-employment and endeavours, based on this model, I wonder, is it that suprising?

1 comment:

mike priddy said...

The incubator might be a model that is easily sold to start-ups in the 'Creative Industries' as it is comfortable for them, however there can be a high turnover of occupancy in such spaces. For example the initial aim of the Custard Factory (Birmingham, UK) was to fill the (large) building with artists, designers and musicians. To a great extent they succeeded and created an amazing space for interaction between creative people, but over time they had to start renting space to more non-creative service industry businesses because art just doesn't pay the rent. They turned space that was specifically for individual artists and artisans over to charitable status because it wasn't economically viable any other way. Sure, some of the businesses have gone on to be a success i.e. they are still trading and still paying the bills. So there might be one extra item to add to your check list for leaving college - business savviness.