Careers Service Occupations

Creative Arts, Design & Fashion

Creative Arts, Design and Fashion

About

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.

Careers advice

Creative arts and design

Fashion and textile

Industry news

Sources of news include: 

Professional bodies

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:

Art historians

Art therapists

Creative artists

Designers

Fashion and textile designers

Furniture conservator/restorers

Gallery conservators

Glass blower/designers

Illustrators

Interior and spatial designers

Jewellery designers

Medical illustrators

Make-up artists

Press photographers

Find professional bodies outside of the UK on GoinGlobal by selecting ‘Professional and Personal Networking’ on each of the individual country guides.

Making contacts

Making contacts is essential for success in this sector. Many jobs in this field come through networking and speculative applications. You could start with:

  • NCL spark – our online mentoring platform, with 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

Funding

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:

In the North East

The North East has a thriving creative arts sector. The following resources can give you more insight:

  • Digital Union - recently relaunched as a free membership organisation for digital creative professionals in the North East. They unite talent and business and match people to ideas, opportunities and innovation.
  • The Ouseburn Valley is 'the creative heart of Newcastle'
  • NewcastleGateshead  - highlights exhibitions and events and is useful for networking
  • Find organisations on MyCareer - click on ‘search organisations’ under the Vacancies tab

Events 

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

Related sectors

You may also be interested in AdvertisingEvents Management, Hospitality & CateringLeisure, Sport and TourismMedia or Music and Performing Arts

Or see our other Explore Occupations 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 ArtFashionFilm and PhotographyGraphic 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.

Animator

Arts administrator

Art historian

Art worker 

Art therapist

Ceramics designer

Community arts worker

Costume designer

Exhibition designer

Fashion designer

Fine artist

Furniture conservator/restorer

Furniture designer

Gallery conservator

Glass blower/designer

Graphic designer

Illustrator

Industrial product designer

Interior and spatial designer

Jewellery designer

Makeup artist

Medical illustrator

Multimedia specialist

Museum/Gallery conservator

Photographer

Press photographer

Printmaker

Production designer (theatre/television/film)

Special effects technician 

Textile designer

Theatre manager

VFX artist

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
  • flexibility

Gaining Experience

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.

A lot of work experience in this field comes through making contacts and speculative applications. This is especially true in art, jewellery design and craft roles, where employers tend to be small.

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. 

Finding work experience

Advertised opportunities

Awards and competitions

Awards and competitions support development of experience and contacts in this sector.

Volunteering

  • Go Volunteer - student volunteering projects, including art and mural design
  • The Courier - opportunities to write for the arts, design, photography and fashion section
  • L-INK are a group of young people (aged 16-24) who work with the Hatton Gallery and Laing Art Gallery to organise events, work with artists and create artworks

See Internships, Placements and Shadowing for more opportunities. 

Finding Jobs

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. 

Social media, particularly LinkedIn and Twitter, can be useful for making contacts, finding employers and opportunities.

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.

Vacancy sites

General

Animation

Arts administration

Art therapy

Conservation/restoration/galleries

Design

Interior design

Jewellery design

Fashion and textile

Finding companies

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.

See About for information on making contacts and professional bodies.

See Researching Employers for more ways to source and research companies.

Find jobs and additional vacancy source websites outside of the UK on GoinGlobal.

Work for Yourself

Being self-employed is common in the creative sector. Often creatives have a ‘portfolio’ career which may combine self-employment 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: