The creative sector has grown at five times the rate of the wider UK economy, with one in every 10 graduates currently employed in the creative industries.
Creative arts and design
- Prospects: Creative arts and design - key roles, case studies, resources and contacts
- Creative & Cultural Skills
- Newcastle University Careers Service - Creative Careers - insights into working in the creative industries
- IdeasTap - archive of useful articles from the creative arts website
- Adigitaldreamer.com – design careers advice
- BAFTA Guru - careers in costume and make up design
Fashion and textile
- Guardian Careers: Live Q&A Routes into fashion
- Journey to Work (video) - advice from a creative fashion director and a couturier (23 mins). Log in to access off campus.
- Guardian careers - A model employee: how to stand out as a fashion graduate
These represent people working in the sector, providing training and networking opportunities. They often provide careers support for students and graduates.
They also provide development for people already working in the sector. Follow them on LinkedIn, or visit their websites for news, contacts, work experience and vacancies.
The main professional associations for this sector include:
- Arts Council England
- Creative Skillset
- AIR (Artists' Interaction & Representation)
- Contemporary Art Society
- Craft Central
- Creative Choices
Fashion and textile designers
- The British Association of Paintings Conservator-Restorers
- Institute of Conservation
- International Academic Projects
Interior and spatial designers
Making contacts is essential for success in this sector. Many jobs in this field come through networking and speculative applications. You could start with:
- Graduate Connections – graduates happy to give you advice about the kind of work they do
- social media, particularly LinkedIn and Twitter, which is useful for making contacts, finding employers and opportunities
- Newcastle alumni on LinkedIn – find out what they did after graduation and contact them for advice
- Young People in the Arts (YPIA) – for arts professionals at the start of their career
- Artsthread - international network for new creatives
- A-n – networking forum
Some government and charitable bodies offer funds to help artists and arts organisations carry out work to engage with the public. Further information can be found at:
- Arts Council - grants for the arts
- Creative Scotland - Scottish arts funding
- National Lottery – arts funding
- The Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST)
In the North East
The North East has a thriving creative arts sector. The following resources can give you more insight:
- The Ouseburn Valley is 'the creative heart of Newcastle'
- Kyeo.tv - North East's art and culture news and events in art, design and fashion
- NewcastleGateshead - highlights exhibitions and events and is useful for networking
- dot to dot active arts - Northumberland social enterprise with freelance project and workshop opportunities
- North East Graduate Directory - employers who may offer work experience and vacancies
Recruitment fairs, open days, talks and other events give insight and opportunities to make contacts.
Regular events for this sector include Newcastle University Creative Careers. This takes place each year, with speakers from a range of careers in the creative sector.
For more events for this sector see Careers Events.
Or see our other occupational pages for more options.
Roles & Skills
Creative arts, design and fashion encompass a wide variety of diverse roles.
Prospects' What can I do with my degree? has information on roles related to creative degrees. These include Fine Art, Fashion, Film and Photography, Graphic Design, History of Art and Textile Design.
For some careers related to creative arts and design, a postgraduate qualification is essential. For example, to work as a registered art therapist you need a postgraduate qualification in art therapy or art psychotherapy approved by the Health Professions Council (HPC). Search for approved courses on the HPC and British Association of Art Therapists (BAAT) websites.
The following job profiles include descriptions of typical duties, entry requirements and case studies.
- Creative Skillset: Careers in animation
- Guardian Careers: escape to animation – video interview
- University of Brighton Careers Service: Animation and illustration
Community arts worker
- National Careers Service
- Creative Skillset
- Bafta Guru - 'Giving Up The Day Job' - interview with costume designer
Industrial product designer
Interior and spatial designer
Production designer (theatre/television/film)
Skills employers look for
Employers in this sector will be looking for evidence of the following:
- interpersonal and communication ability
- technical skills and creativity
- ability to work independently and with others
- research and organisation capabilities and the ability to meet deadlines
- business and commercial awareness
Relevant work experience is vital to demonstrate your specific practical knowledge to employers, as well as to develop skills and highlight your commitment and initiative.
In the creative sector, unpaid work experience is common. For many, this can be the only way to get experience in their chosen career. These opportunities can provide you with excellent skills, contacts and industry knowledge. You must weigh up the implications of working for free.
Guardian Careers: How to get ahead in the art industry gives more tips on gaining experience.
Use Finding Jobs to find recruiters for further advertised and speculative approaches.
See our Internships, Placements and Shadowing pages for more information on finding work experience.
Finding work experience
- transitiontradition - work experience opportunities, competitions and events
- Arts Councils Arts Jobs includes work experience opportunities
- Newcastle Work Experience (NWE) - paid work experience with local organisations
- University of the Arts: Creative opportunities - paid internships
Awards and competitions
Awards and competitions support development of experience and contacts in this sector.
- D&AD - annual student competition with categories including design, illustration and moving image
- Hiive – lists more than £100,000 worth of competitions
- Arts Council: Artists' International Development Fund - opportunities for freelance/self-employed artists in England to build international links
- Association of Art Historians Internship Award - funding for UK-based students on placements or internships
- Go Volunteer - student volunteering projects, including art and mural design
- The Courier - opportunities to write for the arts, design, photography and fashion section
- The Alumni Association Student Initiative Fund and ncl+ funding for projects - funding for social, community or cultural projects
- ArtTherapy4All - volunteering opportunities for recent art therapy graduates
See our Internships, Placements and Shadowing for more opportunities.
Many jobs in the creative field are gained through making contacts and speculative applications.
The rest are advertised in publications, newsletters, trade journals, directories and online. Research company websites to get a feel for the type of employee they want.
Use What do graduates do? - to research what other Newcastle University graduates have done with their arts degree.
See also Guardian Careers: Life after university - 14 careers tips for arts graduates for advice on finding work in the creative sector.
- Arts Culture Media Jobs
- Creative choices: jobs & opportunities in visual arts
- Arts Council England
- Creative Scotland
- Arts Jobs Online
- Arts Job Finder
- Eye the Prize
- Crafts Council: Opportunities
- Guardian jobs
- University of the Arts: Creative opportunities
- YNC.org - jobs, project briefs, internships, and other creative openings
- Sophie Macpherson Ltd - recruitment company specialising in the fine art industry
- NHS Jobs
- Psychologist appointments show vacancies for this field. More information on finding jobs in this field can be found on our Psychology page.
- Careers in Design
- Design Week
- Adrem - design and architecture recruitment
- Mad.co.uk - includes design and media jobs
Fashion and textile
- BBC Jobs
- Fashion Workie
- Talisman Fashion Jobs
- Fashion Monitor
- Fashion Therapy - recruitment consultancy
- FashionUnited - creative jobs in fashion
- Fashion & Retail Personnel
- OffStageJobs - US site, includes costume design positions
- Apparel Search: fashion jobs
Not all jobs are advertised. You could also approach organisations or find work through networking in the industry.
Find creative organisations or individuals and get in touch, always with a named contact. Be specific about why you are writing to them and what you’re looking for.
Show your enthusiasm for the sector and highlight any relevant skills. Don’t give up if you don’t get a reply – follow up with a phone call or email to show that you’re keen.
- Axis - directory of artists and curators.
- Directory of Design Consultants
- Chartered Society of Designers (CSD) – find a designer feature
- 100percentdesign - networking via design exhibitions and shows can generate leads
- RIBA - lists registered architectural practices with interior design specialisms
- British Jewellers Association (BJA)
- Who’s Who in Gold & Silver Goldsmiths Company directory
See About for information on making contacts and professional bodies.
Work for Yourself
Being self-employed or working as a freelancer is common in the creative sector. Often creatives have a ‘portfolio’ career which may combine freelancing with other employment.
START UP provides activities and support to Newcastle students and eligible graduates interested in self-employment.
Further resources for self-employment in the creative sector include:
- COBRA – factsheets and reports on starting up and running a business. COBRA can only be accessed through a University computer on the Newcastle campus.
- Prospects: Self-employment
- a-n: Knowledge Bank - resources and information
- transitiontradition – includes contacts directory for those interested in self-employment and enterprise
- Design Nation - business support for designers