Key Ideas is an annual lecture series organised by the Design Area specifically for Camberwell College of Arts design students.
Key Ideas 2: Employment – 2 February 2011
Over the last twenty years the creative industries have undergone a period of unparalleled change. The growth of desktop publishing technology, the expansion of the internet into all aspects of our life, and the rapid development of a plethora of digital tools have meant that the production of design and communication media are more accessible than they have ever been before. As a result the average final year undergraduate student can now create something on their laptop that, to all but the trained eye, could pass as something that a team of experienced designers and a studio full of equipment would have produced even 10 years ago. At the same time creative subjects are more popular than they have ever been before and the numbers going on to study these subjects at undergraduate level has expanded exponentially.
As a result, when these students graduate they emerge into a world where there are many more graduates than jobs. Conventional career progression is extremely difficult to find and often can only be accessed through unpaid internships and work placements. Meanwhile, clients have learnt that they can access this army of work hungry talented graduates through the internet and get them to work at a fraction of the rate demanded by more established studios. As a result we have seen a growth in ‘crowd-sourcing’ and ‘free-pitching’.
Established designers complain that our business model is being undermined, while others welcome a more fluid and dynamic market. Holly Willis from the University of Southern California said in her lecture, Embracing Flux, at the New Contexts/New Practices: Six Views of the AIGA Design Educators Conference. “Our current moment as unsettling as it is, and as unique and apocalyptic as it feels, repeats a host of previous junctures in recurring cycles of disruption and stasis that punctuate the previous 200 years of Western culture.”
- Hannah Tyson (Director, HedOn / former owner of Eye Magazine)
- Matt Wade (partner, Kin)
- James Bull (co-founder, Moving Brands)
- Sam Arthur (partner, No Brow)
- Matt Rice (Sennep)
- Mike Ratcliffe (Represent)
AM: Key industry speakers will deliver 20 minute provocations that examine the ideas described above from their perspective. After each provocation there will be opportunities for group discussion from staff, current students and invited alumni.
PM: Students, staff, alumni and speakers break out into 4 or 5 groups to further examine themes identified from the mornings discussion. Each group will be asked to produce a sheet of wisdom that will point towards solutions and advice for how we can move forward and overcome some of the problems.
At the end of the day: We will summarize the discussion to prepare a manifesto or set of principles for how design and designers can best face up to the situation outlined above.
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