Dr Oonagh Murphy

Working in the Art World: Professional Practice Reimagined

working in the art world professional practice reimaginedOn the 6th of April 2017, Dr Oonagh Murphy presented the Richmond approach to teaching professional practice to fellow academics at the GLAD Conference at Manchester School of Art. The presentation outlined how we help our students graduate as confident, professionally literate and ‘employable’ creative professionals.

Working in the Art World

For the first time in 2017 we delivered a course called ‘Working in the Art World’ for final year BA Art History and Visual Culture Students. This module has been developed to provide students with an insight into the diverse jobs available to them upon graduation. The aim of this course is to provide students with professional literacies that allow them to write an application form, fill in a funding application or write a business plan. This is a formal taught programme which has been shaped through our experience designing a professionally focused wrap around offer for students on the MA in Visual Arts Management and Curating which we call the ‘Professional Practice Exchange’.

Professional Practice Exchange

The emphasis on our MA wrap around offer, which sits alongside our taught modules is on the core day to day skills and practices from writing emails to dealing with health and safety that creatives from curators to festival managers our responsible for. Through a range of guest speakers, practical workshops and site visits, students learn about risk registers, child protection, and writing for a range of audiences, pitching for funding, interpreting and applying arts policy documents, strategic management and developing communities of practice. Rather than asking visiting professionals to talk about their creative practice or curatorial vision we ask that they talk about their daily, weekly and monthly work flow. Something which helps students to identify appropriate career paths at an early stage, and allows them to identify key skills which they can then be supported in developing over the course of the MA programme. For some students this will be learning specific software packages for others it will be getting work published before graduation. The focus on skills rather than vision, is something that we have found to be extremely valuable for our students.