Friday, June 22, 2007

What's in a name?

Where was I? Oh yes

The Scene: Private view, surrounded by the great and good, I bump into an old friend, an artist and design lecturer who is chatting to a senior colleague.

Friend: Charlotte and I went to college together
Me: Hi, yes we did time-based media, through Fine Art
Friends colleague: Oh really what are you up to now?
Me: I work in a Business School
Friends colleague: Oh dear
Me: but I do work around the creative industries (apologetically and slight pleading in voice)
Friends colleague: oh dear
Me: It's all about gender and entrepreneurship in the creative industries
Friends colleague: what? oh dear entrepreneurship? oh dear what's that!
Me: well....
Friends colleague: Right I must go and find.. (Read: I'm off to do much more important things, heard it all before, I'm an artist)

Anyway this exchange took place recently and left me in a rather confused state. Apart from the fact that the said Friends colleague had been utterly dismissive and rude I kind of got it - his attitude - I understood, I have been in that mindset and now I am in another. But it is very hard to articulate what had happened.

A couple of days later I was regaling this story to another friend, who also is a an artist who had this take on the exchange: 'It's just sort of defensive arrogance, the creative sector is just so competitive and that attitude stems from that. The idea that somehow a creative individual is different you know - creative not entrepreneurial - that's almost like a dirty word'.

Anyway I know from an academic perspective that the literature picks up on this, that creatives don't identify with being called entrepreneurs etc. But to be frank most of my dealings with educators from creative disciplines is generally much more down to earth and frankly realistic.Recognising what life is like for graduates and the need to prepare them as best possible for careers that are very likely to involve some level of enterprising behaviour - if not entrepreneurship..

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Enterprise education: and another thing...

Previously I have identified two areas where enterprise is inadvertanly (or not) taught within creative disciplines (at least art and design). These briefly were:

- Lecturer as practitioner
- Experiential learning - project based real-life briefs being responded to

Today I am going to cover a third and perhaps the most obvious - I am surprised I haven't made mention of it before - the Degree Shows!

Yesterday, speaking to a very senior colleague here at the university I was reminded of the time and investment spent on putting together ones final show. The degree show, for the uninitiated, is an exhibition of all final year students work that takes place right about now in all art and design institutions in the UK (and possibly beyond). The exhibition generally lasts for four or five days and is kicked off with a Private view.

My ISBE conference paper last year discussed the characteristics of the creative industries. In it I make mention of the night-time social element of the creative industries. I guess for some of these students the degree show private view gives an opportunity to experience some of this night-time activity, the start of things to come maybe, the boozing, schmoozing and apparent (fingers crossed) constructive networking that might take place. Maybe:

- meet potential employers/clients, future collaborators.
- present and talk about work
- have a professional experience
- showcase work

Anyway I'd be interested to know how useful these events actually prove to be to students, as my own is all a bit of a blur and a rather long time ago now. Interestingly this showcasing concept has been expanded upon at UCE, where I work, with the New Generation Arts festival. This festival includes current, recent and past graduates and is a much wider celebration of creative talent originating from the university. I like the fact that it recognises the need to continue to highlight and showcase ones work beyond the degree show.

Also other thoughts I would like to share are some observations around the whole concept of entrepreneurship and how in some quarters it is still very much not recognised as relevant to the art and design community. But I'll save this for when I am a little more awake.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Coming up

I am busy completing a report for some evaluation I have been involved in. This has been of the TE3 (technology enhanced enterprise education) project, a generally successful collaboration between 12 regional (West Midlands, UK) universities who have been developing electronic teaching materials for teaching enterprise.

I presented a paper in Lancaster based on this research a couple of weeks ago and am now writing, as I say, the final report which will be available at the TE3 open day in July - this is a free event and I will be doing a brief turn in the afternoon reporting back on this evaluation.