Editorial: Tertiary arts graduates and alumni: Forging a fabulous creative future

If one was to believe the various reports emanating from the popular media, creative arts schools provide a waiting room for global graduate unemployment.  As we all know, nothing could be further from the truth or, as the US Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts puts it ‘Uncle Henry is Wrong’.

In Australia, according to the Australia Council’s recently released report on National Arts participation, 98% of Australians engage with the arts, and creative arts graduates and alumni represent a critical mass with whom the public engage, whether through listening, viewing, reading, experiencing or clicking.

While we wait for the government’s graduate employment definitions to catch up with the portfolio careers and ‘gig economy’ that typify artists professional careers, creative arts graduates and alumni are forging successful careers and our institutions, schools and teachers continue to support and grow a new generation of cultural ambassadors, through ever strengthening pedagogical strategies and research.

In this edition of NiTRO:

Ryan Daniel (JCU) revisits his research focus over the past ten years to reassert the importance of tertiary study to creative careers and explores how mentoring could be harnessed more formally to greater advantage;    

Also drawing upon research, Diana Blom (WSU) and Dawn Bennett (Curtin) suggest that it is time to add employability to the concept of the Artistic Research and Teaching nexus and for arts to take the lead in forging good practice for practice based disciplines;

Shane Strange (University of Canberra) reminds us that as the mentors of this new generation of artists, academics also need to be supported if they are to deliver the graduate successes that students deserve;

US colleagues, Stacey Salazar (Maryland Institute of Art) focuses on how we can more accurately report graduate employment in creative arts, while Angie Miller (Indiana University) draws on her recent research to identify ways in which creative arts educators can support graduate success.

Jo Conlon (University of Huddersfield) brings a UK perspective to the discussion showing how the popular online professional app LinkedIn can help to join the dots between alumni, students and graduate employment.

Turning to the alumni that have graduated from our universities and art institutions, Louise Crossen (Griffith) showcases some of Queensland Conservatorium’s successful alumni underscoring the influence of academic staff and Paul Uhlmann (ECU) outlines how university initiatives are shaping a successful alumni reputation on the opposite side of the country.  Rachael Haynes (QUT) describes how creative arts schools can form the basis for innovative artist led businesses after graduation.

Monash University alumnus, Nicholas Marks, reflects upon the hard work that took him to his successful international music career and, in a Q & A feature, Georgie Meagher, CEO of Next Wave, recalls the influence of her University of Wollongong days and discusses the important role that can alumni play to support the next generation of artists.