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Looking Out 2009-10

Project information

UK Creative Industries have become recognised as central to the nation’s place in the global marketplace. They make up 7.3% of the economy, contribute £57 billion to the economy, and are growing at around 5% a year, employing 1.8 million people. Creative Industries Economic Estimates, DCMS, 2007

Looking-Out is a major research project undertaken by the Art Design Media Subject Centre (ADM-HEA) and supported the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). It arose from recommendations in the Creative Britain: New Talents for a New Economy strategy paper published in February 2008. In the light of growing recognition of the valuable contribution our Creative and Cultural Industries make to the UK economy, Looking-Out focuses on levels of engagement between art, design and media higher education (Arts HE) and individuals, businesses and organisations in creative and cultural sectors (Creative Industries).

Looking Out included a survey of Arts HE departments to determine the number and types of courses, number of students and teachers and range and types of engagement, this generated 108 responses from seventy-five HEIs. A survey of teachers generated 239 responses. We ran ten focus groups with 122 participants and have provided case studies of engagements between Arts HE and creative industry businesses, organisations and individuals. Finally we undertook an extensive review of policy and research literature related to employer engagement, work-based learning and workforce development.

The research revealed over one hundred and twenty collaborative projects delivered singly or jointly in over seventy HEIs with the support of sixteen sector-based organisations. 

Student placements are common, 64% of courses include an assessed work-placement and many more operate elective or non-assessed work placement schemes. Alongside opportunities to learn with teacher-practitioners, placements are the most frequently cited way of students learning professional skills. However, most placements are relatively brief and many teachers and practitioners believe that these are too short to be effective.

However, The most substantial form of direct engagement is through creative industries practitioners working as teachers. The experience of most students, teachers and practitioners would support this perception and the research project sets out to substantiate this view and challenge some of the widely assumptions about these teacher practitioners. 85% of art, design and media departments surveyed in Looking Out employ teacher-practitioners in a deliberate effort to maintain the currency of practice-based knowledge in the curriculum. A survey of over forty Arts HE teaching posts in 2008-9 shows that current experience of creative industry and arts practice feature highly in "essential'" attributes of applicants and are often a proxy for a track record in research. Looking Out research shows that around 50% of teachers in English Arts HE are also creative industry practitioners. A significantly higher number, over 90% sustain "effective links" with their practice. There are large variations in the proportion of teacher-practitioners across department and disciplines. It appears that fine arts and practices close to fine arts employ a larger proportion of teacher-practitioners than, for example industrial design. Contrary to popular views teacher-practitioners are experienced as teachers and professional practitioners: 23% had more than 15 years HE experience and 72% have worked in creative and cultural businesses and organisations for more than ten years. Furthermore, most teacher-practitioners are implicated in HE quality assurance processes as are other professional practitioners through work as external examiners and on industry liaison panels.

The report is organised into a Key Report that provides the background and context for the research, an explanation of the research and its key findings and discussions of these and recommendations for the enhancement of engagement in Arts HE. The Key report is supported by supplementary reports that discuss in more detail different aspects of the research.

Looking Out is supported by a parallel project called Stepping Out that comprises five research-based case studies. Each of these relates to different aspects of how practitioners in creative and cultural sectors engage with art, design and media education.


Downloading the reports

Looking Out: Key Report

Key Report in sections:         Executive Summary


                                         Art, Design and Media Education

                                         The Research

                                         The Golden Thread: Advocating for Engagement

                                         Conclusions and Recommendations

                                         Case studies (Glossary and Acknowledgements)

Supplementary reports

Looking Out: Arts HE and the Creative Industries

Looking Out: Discussions

Looking Out: Case Studies


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