Creative Careers workshop

A closed Creative Careers workshop will be held on the University of Canberra campus on Tuesday 2 July between 12:00 and 5:00pm. The workshop is organised by the University of Canberra in association with RMIT and QUT.

The workshop location is 11B50 – Building 11, Level B, Room 50. More information on getting to the UC campus and finding Building 11 can be found on the ECR pre-conference page.

The focus of the day is to build on, and move on from, the current understandings of the state of career opportunities in the creative sector. Rather than rehearse the widely recognised concerns and complexities, we are interested in discussing practical ways to address that sector, in order to look to the future of creative work and creative careers.

11:30am for 12:00pm: Arrival
12:00 – 12:15pm Welcome and introduction
12:15 – 12:30pm

Leo Soames, Department of Communications and the Arts

Discuss data from the Bureau of Communication and Arts Research report, Creative Skills for the Future Economy

12:30 – 12:45pm Discussion
12:45 to 2:00pm: FUTURES
12:45 – 12:55pm

Greg Hearn, QUT

The future of creative work

If humans are in a race for jobs against the machine, are creative jobs safe because machines can’t be creative? What do we mean by creative work? Art, design, advertising, or the creative industries? Any job that contains creative problem solving? Or do we need to think more fundamentally about creative skills? In this presentation creative work is argued to be that which occurs in the creative economy. The creative economy is defined as: the creation, capture and consumption of intangible value, through the application of cultural, technological and innovation know-how. A good example of creative work in the creative economy is creative services jobs such as designers or digital content creators. These jobs are found in many industrial and public sectors and their numbers are growing faster than most occupations. But are even these booming creative jobs safe from automation and the rise of AI? Is the idea of a ‘job’ dying, to be replaced by gigging? And where will creative work be found—only in mega cities or in suburbs or rural towns? In short what is the future of this creative work and what is the evidence for these predictions?

12:55 –


Phillip Mcintyre, University of Newcastle

The Future and Systems Centred Learning (SCL): Delivering CMNS2800 Creative Industries Entrepreneurship

There are three major contextual forces at work that have had an impact on the changing nature of work in Australia in the 21st century: digitisation, globalisation and neoliberalism. While predicting the future is very much a fool’s errand, it would be remiss of us as educators of a future creative workforce not to at least attempt to prepare our students for a world where the use of AI, increased machine learning and incessant disruption to the creative workplace have become the norm. We have instituted a number of measures at the University of Newcastle to help our students be adaptive and resilient in the face of a significant set of changes. Starting with the idea that those working in the creative industries need to be increasingly T-shaped we also recognise that if our graduates wish to do well or even survive in the creative industries, they will need to be entrepreneurially focused. In the process we have instituted what we call Systems Centred Learning and built it into a number of courses such as CMNS2800 Creative Industries Entrepreneurship (UON 2019).

1:05 – 1:15pm

Susan Luckman, UniSA

Crafting Future Creative Employment

Reporting from the recently completed ARC Project ‘Promoting the Making Self in the Creative Micro-economy’ (, and early findings from the new ARC-funded study that builds upon this (‘The value of craft skills to the future of manufacturing in Australia’), I’m keen to explore with colleagues a number of key issues (and possible solutions) arising from this work. These include:

  • Where should business/entrepreneurial skills come best come into creative higher degrees education? In what form and at which stage?
  • What hands-on skills studio and practice skills are we losing due to funding cut-backs? Indeed, how best do practical and critical/scholarly training sit alongside one another in the context of creative higher education?
  • How might contract-based and casual employment best fi alongside government support structures including social welfare payments? What scope is there for an extension of the NEIS program for creative aspirants not registered as unemployed?

What kind of un/under-explored scope is there to encourage and build ‘creative’ careers beyond the creative industries?

1:15 – 1:45pm Discussion
1:45 – 2:00pm Coffee break
2:00 – 2:11pm

Sora Park, Jee Lee (UC) and Scott Brook (RMIT)

Tracking the career paths of Creative Arts graduates

The value of creative arts education at the tertiary level has been questioned by the underemployment and relatively low income of creative arts graduates in Australia and overseas. However, it is hard to capture an accurate account of the outcome using cross-sectional data. In this study, we explore the trajectory of creative arts graduates through a 17-year panel data. Does studying in creative degrees lead to better outcomes in creative careers within creative industries? What are the factors that influence the career path of creative degree graduates? Do the creative skills have sufficient transferable value in non-creative industries? We aim to answer these questions by tracking graduates of Creative Arts degrees (N=500) identified in the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Wave 12 and Wave 16 study and comparing the career trajectory of the graduates who end up in creative and non-creative industries.

2:12 – 2:23pm

Susan Kerrigan, University of Newcastle

Creative Industries in Regional High Schools: teacher and student perceptions of creative workforce opportunities

The Creative Industries (CI) was included as a Strategy for 21st Century Australia (2011) but is has become marginalised, and its place in curriculum change and secondary school education has been obscured by the current curriculum driver, Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) (Australian Government, 2017). This change in policy presents a significant challenge for creative industries educators working at the secondary school and tertiary sector. Preliminary research findings from the Creative Industries Careers: Re-imagining Regional and Remote Students’ opportunities project suggest it will be difficult to argue for the arts or creative curriculum in the new STEM school regimes. It may well be that having a Creative Industry skill set where technology, creativity and passion abound, may well be the missing link that is needed to improve the current curriculum at the secondary level so that tertiary opportunities can be maximised.

2:23 – 2:35pm

Christina Clarke, ANU

Will discuss interdisciplinarity and the application of maker/material knowledge to art-historical research.

2:35- 2:45pm

Jen Webb, UC

Refreshing the curriculum

My focus is on artists qua art, rather than on creatives more generally, which effectively renders moot the question of income-earning capacity. But though artists remain significantly outside the flow of capital, their interest in building a career is no less urgent than is the case for practitioners in other fields. Creative curricula tend to focus on studio practice, art theory, and a scatter of professional (‘career’, or business skills) training, typically offered late in the degree. But feedback from graduates several years into their careers suggests that there are elements missing from the degree structures. Drawing on data from a recent study into artists’ creative careers, I suggest some changes to the design of arts training that may support graduates in crafting life-long careers that provide sufficient income without diminishing the contributions artists make to social value.

2:45 – 3:15pm Discussion
3:15 – 3:30pm Coffee break
3:30 to 4:30pm: NEXT STEPS
3:30 – 3:40pm

Stuart Cunningham, QUT

Connecting the Dots: Creative careers in academic and government research, in policy and educational programs

This presentation will look to connect different aspects of work on creative careers and ask where the gaps and needs are, going forward. For example, I would argue that these topics fit ‘the focus of the day … to build on, and move on from, the current understandings of the state of career opportunities in the creative sector. Rather than rehearse the widely recognised concerns and complexities, we are interested in discussing practical ways to address that sector, in order to look to the future of creative work and creative careers’:

  • articulating and extending creative careers to future of work debates and evidence
  • cutting-edge growth areas for creative careers in ‘createch’
  • synergising government economics work (eg Creative Skills for the Future Economy) with humanities and social sciences academic research
  • how to mount a serious bid for a scaled-up research program around creative careers (CRC-P?)

how to support/build advocacy around creative careers (governments, councils, leading advocates eg Russell Howcroft, Labor policies on Creative Economy, Greens’ call for a Creativity Commission, A New Approach, policy and research development bureaux).

3:40 – 4:30pm Discussion, including wrap-up and publication options

Main image by Joanna Kosinska via Unsplash

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