As someone who is on the second year of an arts degree (BA Hons Fine Art and Art History), I wanted to write a blog post about the advantages of being on an arts course. I want to encourage anyone who may be scared to commit to a degree in the arts, or who may be scared away by the job prospects, to apply!
1. The creative industry offers a lot of jobs in the UK and abroad.
I know this is the sort of stuff that they tell you at applicant days, but I’ve done my research and it’s true! Creative people contribute a huge amount to society, and if you think about it, for every product we buy there is someone creative and innovative behind its design. The UK’s Creative Industries generate nearly £9.6million per hour*, so there is definitely money in being a creative thinker.
Future jobs that I’m interested in, leading on from my degree, include curation, going into the restoration/conservation of artworks, becoming an art journalist or working as an art dealer.
2. It teaches you skills, not only in the creative fields, but in life in general.
I can’t really put into words how much my degree has taught me already. My confidence has improved massively since I began university. Moving away from home and into halls with strangers helped this, but also being on a course where you have to become comfortable in working in your own studio space, talking about your work, giving presentations and exhibiting your work. My course made me grow up quickly and become more confident in myself and my own ideas. Most importantly, it taught me to have confidence in my own ability and that I can achieve anything I put my mind to. In my first year I spoke at a conference in front of a lot of people and I was so nervous, it felt like the scariest thing I’d ever done at the time, but I came out the other end a different person. I am so much more comfortable speaking to an audience now. The tutors and lecturers foster any idea that you go to them with, and encourage you to try new things. They are genuinely interested in your work.
3. Balancing creativity and academia sets you aside from others.
Time management is really attractive to future employers, as they want dedicated people who can commit, are independent and reliable. Although not traditionally what people would call an ‘academic’ course, the artist research and reading we have to do is just that. Especially on a joint honours course, you learn to balance your time between being in the studio and writing essays well. Being able to sit and write about research is a skill, but so is managing your own time working in a professional studio. Having a studio space of your own, in a beautiful location (right by the sea at Royal William Yard) is something I will definitely miss when I leave university.
4. Being surrounded by creative and talented people.
I’m pretty certain that some big names in the art world are going to come from our Fine Art year group, and I hope they’ll remember Plymouth when they are achieving big things! But seriously, being surrounded by talented peers and successful lecturers reminds me that with hard work there is no limit as to what you can achieve. The painting on the right is by my extremely talented friend Tereze (it is of me!) – she inspires me every day.
I hope this helps if you’re perhaps considering an arts degree but don’t know if it is for you. Choosing my degree was the best decision I ever made!