A mission statement of sorts.
‘Professional Reality Development’ is a module currently being piloted at Brighton University, in essence it is an attempt to provide a space for discussion between students, lecturers and outsiders about the nature of life after University, within the existing institution.
The program is a first step towards renegotiating the shape that career advice and ‘professional development’ should take in a world with diminishing opportunities and non-existent career paths. After the initial pilot phase of the program it is hoped that it can be shared and rolled out to other universities throughout the UK. It should be noted that this is focused on an art school perspective but it’s not my intention to limit its scope, rather to focus on a specific context on a case by case basis.
In relaying the goals, process and experience of developing this program to EdgeRyders, I hope that I will find others with similar aims with which I can share material produced and engage in a wider conversation. The text below was the initial introduction for the program provided to students and staff, hopefully this will provide a clear view by which to engage those reading on EdgeRyders.
Our Aim, Our Future.
We are living through exceptionally precarious and uncertain times, with current 16-24 year old unemployment figures exceeding record highs of 1.6 million and 1 in 5 recent graduates unable to find work. This is a situation with little hope for improvement in the coming years. Graduating in 2012 will undoubtedly be an exceptionally disheartening and grim experience for most young people.
“The Lost Generation” or “The graduate with no future” have become commonplace terms for news reports and articles to characterise the gloomy prospects for those graduating today. However this projected future, presents at times a distorted and disempowering reality for young people and demonstrates in many ways a misrepresentation of the activities and work many are engaged and committed to. Whilst it is true that this generation is unlikely to be as economically prosperous as their parents generation, this isn’t necessarily reflective of a lack of productivity and creativity but rather a lack of visibility for how recent graduates have continued to work during recession.
The goal of this program is to address the fundamental issues of graduating into this new economic reality, by confronting the ‘professional’ context of the art world and its outer edges, the program will draw on the experiences of a group of individuals who have taken original and self initiated routes in developing a ‘career’. The primary aim will be to empower students to forge their own trajectory and to identify the core values in their personal skill set for establishing a sustainable form of living.
Together we will work to define what a practice or career can be outside of University life. Facilitated through open discussion, original research and working towards a self governed social network for students to communicate and build bridges with recent graduates and society at large.
In considering a shift from classic Fordist labour practices to a Post-Fordist economy, we will scrutinise the value of present skill sets developed in art school education for life beyond university. Art School education has come to offer a unique opportunity inside of contemporary institutions for self initiated work, creativity and research on the subjects that individuals define as important to them.
With this in mind there will be a heavy focus on the nuts and bolts and practical application of a self sustaining practice and how to extend this skill set outside of education. Individual speakers will present their experience of forming collectives, constructing and financing live/work spaces and the day to day running of a portfolio based career. With a diverse set of speakers, from startup entrepreneurs through to independent curators and self financed artist collectives, the weekly series will present a comprehensive approach to navigating the new world of work.
Progress can be tracked here: realitydevelopment.pbworks.com