Creative and Culture Week:
1–5 March, 2021
According to a recent report, just over one in eight of all UK businesses are in the creative industries. Before the pandemic, jobs in this sector were growing almost three times as fast as the economic average, however the creative and culture sector has been one of the most affected by Covid-19, particularly given the very high proportion of small businesses (around 94% employ fewer than 10 staff) and freelance workers. Whilst challenges for venue and events based arts and culture have been particularly great, there has also been huge growth in demand for digital cultural content – with the most successful organisations exploring new ways of engaging audience remotely and alternative business models. The lockdown and social distancing measures have also made evident the importance of arts and culture for people’s mental well-being – suggesting potential for growth in the use of arts and culture to support a healthy population.
Our Creative and Culture week offers a snapshot of work in the creative industries. With so many smaller employers, building a strong network is even more important. Connecting with professionals in the areas that interest you can be a way to get advice, tips and to hear about relevant opportunities. This week you can meet professionals working in museums, heritage, galleries, gaming and visual fx. You’ll hear about the different career paths people have taken, how they secured their first roles, and top tips they have for others looking to follow similar paths. There will be plenty of time to put your won questions to the panel too.
Many who work in the creative industries do so on a freelance or self-employed basis, from producers and event managers, to artists and graphic designers. But how do freelancers find and secure work? How do they ensure they earn enough money to live? How do they develop the additional skills needed to run a business? We’ll be putting these questions and more to our freelance artists and creatives so don’t miss this opportunity to pick up valuable tips and advice.
Explore working as an art therapist
Tuesday 2 March, 14:00 – 15:00
Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses art media as its primary mode of expression and communication. A career in art therapy offers an opportunity to be professionally connected with art and make a positive difference in the lives of many people who find verbal communication difficult. But how do you become an art therapist/psychotherapist? What does a typical day look like, and what kind of work experience might help you? In this informal session, Art Psychotherapist Taylor Smart will be talking about her own career journey and work in this field, as well as taking your questions.
Surviving and thriving as an artist or freelance creative
Tuesday 2 March, 17:00 – 18:30
The creative industries are the fastest-growing part of the UK economy, more than half of those working on freelance or self-employed basis (in February 2017). Working freelance can offer creative freedom, and opportunity to use and develop specialist skills and flexibility, but it also brings challenges – many of which have been highlighted by the Covid-19 pandemic. You’ll also hear about Reading’s own crowding funding platform and how you can use it for your own creative projects.
Panellists include: Lucinda Scholey, freelance designer; Maria Fielding, artist and illustrator; Jane Glennie, poet, filmmaker and artist and Lydia Taylor, freelance digital strategist; Rhianna Bailey, FundSpace (University of Reading’s crowdfunding platform)
Explore careers in museums, heritage and galleries
Wednesday 3 March, 13:00 – 14:30
In the UK, the cultural sector is a significant part of the economy, incorporating museums and galleries, science centres, the art market, heritage sites plus theatre and performance organisations. The Covid-19 pandemic has brought huge challenges to the Arts and culture sector, with many organisations forced to find new ways of engaging audiences and generating income. Decolonisation has also been an increasingly prominent theme, brought into focus by the Black Lives Matter movement.
Panellists include: Mark Francis, Director at Burgh House; Jenny Stevens, Venue Manager and Culture Hibs Curatorial Lead at Hampshire Cultural Trust; and Kate Arnold-Foster, Director of Museum of English Rural Life, and Director of University Museums and Special Collections, Dr Ian Leins (Curator of Collections and Interiors - South West) - English Heritage.
Explore careers in gaming, animation and visual fx
Thursday 4 March, 17:00 – 18:30
Games, visual fx and animation are the fastest growing entertainment sectors in the UK. From designing and programming, over story writing, to community management and quality assurance there are roles for those with technical backgrounds and those with a more creative skillset. The games industry in the UK has also proved particularly resilient in the face of the pandemic - according to industry body UK Interactive Entertainment, in July 2020 almost half of UK gaming companies reported an increase or significant increase in revenues.
Panellists include: Mohan Gehlot (Xbox-Microsoft) - Senior 3rd Party Product Manager, Liam Winchester (Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe - Playstation) - Junior Submission Engineer, Annie Clare (Tonic Games Group) - Head of Studio Operations, Gabriele Mockute - 2D & 3D Motion Designer, Phil Cabtree (Kaizen Game Works) - Technical Director & Co-Founder, Kjetil Kalla (Unity Technologies) - Senior Developer Relations Manager, Harry Nichols (Nexus Studios) - Pipeline Technical Director
Useful resources for exploring creative and culture careers
- Not sure what jobs roles exist and what’s relevant to your interests? Browse over 500 job profiles across the sector on Discover Creative Careers to find out what work is out there, what skills are needed, how to get started and where to find jobs. The site also has a great range of case studies and video content.
- BAFTA Guru offer careers advice, case studies and a wealth of content on the film, TV and games industry.
- Trade Unions and professional associations can also be good places to find information.
Job sites (where to find opportunities)
It’s quite unusual to find graduate schemes in the creative and cultural industries as the majority of roles exist within small companies. It’s also common to make speculative applications – targeting organisations whose work particularly interests you. However, here are a few examples of sites advertising internships, permanent roles and sometimes freelance opportunities that are free to access:
UAL Creative Opportunities | Creative Access | ArtsJobs | Fashion Workie (fashion, beauty, lifestyle brands) | GEM (Education and learning in galleries, museums and heritage) | People in TV: Runners (Facebook group) | Games Jobs Direct
Working as a Freelancer
- Our Creative Enterprise Guide is packed with useful information and advice for planning and setting up a business in the creative industries.
- The ScreenSkills Freelance Toolkit is a great starting point for anyone exploring freelancing in film, TV or gaming.
- The Dots describes itself as a ‘professional network for people who don’t wear suits to work’ – add a profile and search for freelance opportunities. You can sometimes access virtual events here too.