The art of innovation: how fine arts graduates contribute to innovation.
, Brooke Sperry
, Andy Pratt
National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA)
Arts, culture and the economy
Objectives: To examine how fine arts graduates contribute to innovation in the arts and the wider economy through their working practices.
Key Findings: The majority of graduates interviewed work in the cultural and creative industries. This number is increasing. Artistic labour is linked into innovation in three ways: 1) artists' attitudes and skills are conducive to innovation: many respondents describe themselves as brokers across disciplines, can be identified as lifelong learners (formally and informally), and single out their own art consumption as a stimulus for their own work; 2) the way in which artistic labour is organised makes artists a prototype for innovation: project work and portfolio working are the norm, which results in crossover and cross-fertilisation of people and ideas across the arts, and between the arts and non-arts worlds 3) impact on innovation takes place through the widespread 'culturalisation' of artistic activities, i.e. the fact that cultural ideas and images are increasingly becoming part of non-cultural products and services as well. Respondents were keen to stress the distinction between cultural and non-cultural pursuits, but did not see creativity as the exclusive preserve of the arts.
Methods: Cohort study of fine arts students who have graduated from the University of the Arts (UAL) in London and its constituent colleges, since the 1950s. An online survey, completed by over 500 members of the UAL alumni association, was used to identify patterns and regularities. 40 semi-structured, face-to-face work biography interviews were carried out, exploring key themes for innovation as well as 'personal life' issues, in order to analyse potential causal processes.
Place of Publication:
978 1 84875 026 5