Art & Design Employability



Formal professional practice


Sessions are typically arranged by staff, to address issues specifically related to employability skills development, professional practice, or working within related creative fields. This might include presentations on copyright or applying for funding, or it might involve hearing from alumni about their experiences after graduation.


Professional practice may focus on networking, fundraising, accounting and budgeting, accessing information, acquiring legal knowledge or developing an ability to communicate with people of various ages, capacities and backgrounds.


Project Title: Fine Art Photography Professional Practice Day
Student Name: Sebastian Mary Tay
School/Department: School of Fine Art/Fine Art Photography
Year of Study: Four
Project Length: Seven hours
Project Location: The Glasgow School of Art Barnes Lecture Theatre


The Fine Art Photography Professional Practice Day was a one-day seminar organised by the Fine Art Photography department, dedicated to students of all year groups, perhaps especially those of level three or four. Students undertaking a creative education – especially in the fine arts – often find themselves disoriented in relation to employability after graduation, with the desire to be a practising artist repeatedly confronting the need to be financially secure. This seminar sought to resolve this dilemma by providing students with ideas, advice and suggestions; much of this came from graduates who were invited to relay their experiences of post-academic life.

What happened:

Five groups of speakers were invited.
(Speakers included Kate V. Robertson, Sam Dransfield, Max Slaven, Ralph Mackenzie, Leanne Hopper, Patrick Jameson, Ellie Royle and Katrina M. Brown, among others).

A slot of 60 minutes was dedicated to each of the group sessions, during which time students could engage in dialogues with the speakers.

These presentations adopted something of a reverse chronology. All speakers described their current involvement in the art world before outlining how they got started – where they went after university, the methodology they used to resolve any post-graduation crisis and the fruits of their labours. This provided some answers to such difficult questions as: ‘How is it possible to maintain an artistic practice while managing a job and earning an income?’ ‘How is it possible to apply for funding for projects that potentially create opportunities for exposure?’ ‘How can resources be accessed outside a university environment?’ ‘How does one search for studio spaces as an individual or a collective?’ As this was the first time that such an event had been opened up to all students across the department, the lecture theatre was filled with curious faces.

Project outcomes:

This seminar helped to inform students about the difficulties of life after graduation, and provided certain suggestions for possible directions. Hearing presenters draw upon their professional trajectories and experience of the contemporary art world, not only served as a practical guide but also, perhaps more importantly, provided a form of encouragement and inspiration. Interactions with guest speakers allowed students to gather meaningful information and advice to consistently show works for exposure, refrain from undermining opportunities that appear along the way and maintain attitudes of persistence and tenacity. The inclusion of students across year groups maximised the impact of this seminar.

Video Interviews

Fine Art – 3rd Year – Deborah Mills

Part-time, mature student, Deborah describes the importance of understanding the process of becoming a professional artist.

3D Craft – 3rd Year – Rebecca Price

Rebecca explains the significance of the professional context module in regards to selling her products.

Related Pages



Student engagement