Economic growth and jobs creation in the cultural and creative sectors

What skills are needed in the cultural and creative sectors to foster growth and jobs creation?

Skills imbalances in the cultural and creative fields are well-acknowledged. However, national and sector-specific data is often incomplete. ArtS needs analysis aimed to clearly define the required skills, competences and qualification standards as well as the pedagogical methods that are best suited to unlock the potential of the target group in Greece, Italy and Spain. Although the survey results and findings are attributable to the three participating countries, it is possible – under specific conditions – to be generalized for other European countries and to become a basis for further research.

People from Greece, Italy and Spain are concerned about the rise of unemployment in their regions and recognise the cultural and creative sectors’ potential for growth and jobs creation[1]. At a time when Greece and Spain have the highest unemployment rates in the EU, with Italy following close[2] the Greek, Spanish and to a lesser extent Italian exports of cultural products represent a significant share of all exports. Yet, according to Eurostat’s Cultural Statistics[3] in all three countries the share of Cultural Creative Sector (CCS) employment as a percentage of total employment is below the EU-27 average. The reasons for this mismatch are unclear. One reason can be that sector activities are often project-led and therefore artists are often self-employed (Italy has the highest percentage of freelancers in CCS in EU-27 or temporary employees (eg. in Spain). Another reason is that the sector faces important skill imbalances.

Studies have shown that recent technological advancements and sector-specific characteristics (eg. the prevalence of SMEs and micro-enterprises, freelancers and project-based work) have led to an under-investment in skills development, fewer training opportunities and a lack of structured career progression. Major skill gaps common to CCS subsectors concern entrepreneurship and project funding[4]; major challenges are digital skills and globalisation, access to finance, cultural and linguistic fragmentation, (sub)sectoral seclusion[5].

The research conducted within the ArtS – Skills of the creative economy project (Erasmus+ Programme KA2– Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices, Sector skills alliances), project confirmed and deny some of the findings of previous or/and disjointed research efforts in relation to skills imbalances in the cultural and creative sectors. It provided clear and reliable data for the ArtS study “Mapping the Competences of the Cultural and Creative Sectors” which guided the development of an innovative and specific targeted ArtS training programme. This training addresses both sector-specific and common shortages that traditional arts education does not usually provide. In addition, training will have a long-lasting impact, overcoming the fragmentation of similar previous efforts[6]. Finally, it contains a blend of teaching methods that will be stimulating into unlocking artists’ potential[7].

The main objective of the needs assessment of people involved in the creative and cultural sectors was, not only to identify the types of skills and competencies considered most important for the sector, but also to highlight the similarities and differences in the three countries (Greece, Spain and Italy), based on six (6) distinct subsectors: 1. Craft 2. Cultural heritage 3. Visual arts 4. Performing arts 5. Literary arts 6. Audiovisual and multimedia. The existence of similarities is taken for granted as we are referring to an unified productive sector which includes specific occupations and economic/productive qualities and is characterised by creativity, flexibility, fluid working environment, lack of resources, variability etc. The documented indicating of the differences, however, can be broken down into two main analysis axes: (i) in relation to the particularities of each subsector in each country separately, (ii) in relation to the gap between the today situation of the various subsectors (level of skills and competences, financial situation, development potential, education and training, certification of professional profiles) and the further developed future situation, as it should be formed in order to facilitate economic developing of creative and cultural sectors and jobs’ creation. The second axis of analysis provides us with all the information about the gap, the mismatching between skills and contemporary needs of the labour market, and about the modules that education, training and professional certification should focus on.

The category of main interest is the mismatching of skills and competences in relation to the needs of the modern labor market. To demonstrate this difference, the respondents of each subsector faced a set of 32 skills and competencies, and selected: (a) firstly, the most important skills and competences for the creative and cultural sector, and (b) next, the skills and competences that need further development through vocational education and training programs.

The most important skills and competences, according to the survey data, can be presented in the following unified categories:

  1. Creativity: Use your imagination to come up with new ideas or to solve problems, think of new, creative and different ways to do things when there are no obvious solutions available.
  2. Communication: Speak and/or write well and get your ideas across to other easily, listen/pay attention to what others are saying, without daydreaming or forming judgment about them, tell others why you do certain things the way you do or why you think the way you do, follow instructions well, ask questions when you do not fully understand instruction, look at things and make sense of them, figure out what makes things work, why there is a problem, etc.
  3. Business administration and management: Break a problem down to see what is really going on, realistic calculation of the professional opportunities and timing, learn a new task and/or work in a different area with different co-workers, make good judgments about what to do in a difficult situation, even when the supervisor is not present, be accurate on your forecast and assess properly all potential costs and income of your projects, manage to create mutually beneficial professional agreements trough a specific strategy, arrange people/plan events/put things in order so that they run smoothly.
  4. Digital Skills: Be familiar with new technologies, using of computer as a working tool, ability to participate into digital social media, turn equipment on and off as well as how to use it safely and wisely.
  5. Specific subsectors’ skills and competences:

– Craft: experimentation, exploratory spirit, positive attitude for experimentation, interest in how to make something, “do it yourself” attitude and skills, organisation of tools, knowledge of design, setting and managing of a craft workshop, selection of multiuse tools and portability to different work environments, knowledge of materials, assessment of different kind of materials and costing, technical knowledge of mold making, basic chemistry knowledge, mixing materials, melting points, mixtures and paints.

– Cultural heritage: openness towards diversity of the various cultural expressions, desire to cultivate aesthetic capacity through cultural expression and the continued interest in culture, strong sense of identity combined with respect for diversity, basic knowledge of major cultural works, including popular culture as an important record of human history, awareness on local, national and international cultural heritage and their place in the world, knowledge of the evolution of taste in the world and the importance of aesthetic factors in daily life, appreciation and enjoyment of works of art and performances based on a broad definition of culture, correlation of individual creative and expressive visual with those of others, marking of economic opportunities inherent in cultural activity.

– Visual arts: seeing, drawing, and understanding form, visualizing shapes, relationships and functions, mastering use of color, space and line, giving abstract ideas visual form, analyzing dynamic forms, applying theories of composition, framing, and abstraction, understanding current issues in art and design, basic knowledge of major cultural works, including popular culture as an important record of human history, awareness on local, national and international cultural heritage and their place in the world, knowledge of the evolution of taste in the world and the importance of aesthetic factors in daily life.

– Performing arts: control of emotions and moods: interpretation skills, basic knowledge of emotional effect on the body, high level of self-control, voice handling, rhythmology, choreography, high level of self-concept, self-discipline.

– Literary arts: basic knowledge of literature forms: poetry, playwriting, short fiction, screenwriting, storyboarding,

– Audiovisual and multimedia: seeing, drawing, and understanding form, visualizing shapes, relationships and functions, mastering use of color, space and line, giving abstract ideas visual form, analyzing dynamic forms, applying theories of composition, framing, and abstraction, understanding current issues in art and design, basic knowledge of major cultural works, including popular culture as an important record of human history, awareness on local, national and international cultural heritage and their place in the world, knowledge of the evolution of taste in the world and the importance of aesthetic factors in daily life.

The skills and competences that need further development through vocational education and training, grouped to match the previous categories, are:

  1. Digital Skills: be familiar with new technologies, using of computer as a working tool, ability to participate into digital social media, turn equipment on and off as well as how to use it safely and wisely.
  2. Business administration and management: knowledge of the market: realistic calculation of the professional opportunities and timing, manage budget, be accurate on your forecast and assess properly all potential costs and income of your projects, learn a new task and/or work in a different area with different co- workers, make good judgments about what to do in a difficult situation, even when the supervisor is not present, manage to create mutually beneficial professional agreements trough a specific strategy, break a problem down to see what is really going on, plan your time so that you don’t forget to do things, you’re almost always/always on time, and you know how to prioritize and give yourself enough time to do the things that you need to do, know the employment legislation, the contractual obligations, penal or/and financial penalties upon breach of agreements, arrange people/plan events/put things in order so that they run smoothly.
  • Communication: speak and/or write well and get your ideas across to other easily, look at things and make sense of them, figure out what makes things work, whythere is a problem, listen/pay attention to what others are saying, without daydreaming or forming judgment about them, tell others why you do certain things the way you do or why you think the way you do,
  1. Creativity: use your imagination to come up with new ideas or to solve problems, thing of new, creative and different ways to do things when there are no obvious solutions available.
  2. Specific subsectors’ skills and competences:
  • Craft: knowledge of materials, assessment of different kind of materials and costing, technical knowledge of mold making, basic chemistry knowledge, mixing materials, melting points, mixtures and paints.
  • Cultural heritage: coaching skills, ability to coach other people in the field of cultural heritage, basic knowledge of major cultural works, including popular culture as an important record of human history, awareness on local, national and international cultural heritage and their place in the world, knowledge of the evolution of taste in the world and the importance of aesthetic factors in daily life.
  • Visual arts: materials’ knowledge, manipulate and adapt a wide range of physical materials (i.e. paint, dyes, charcoal, ink, etc) and technologies (digital media, photography, the body, sound, objects, sites and audiences), style knowledge, basic knowledge of major cultural works, including popular culture as an important record of human history, awareness on local, national and international cultural heritage and their place in the world, knowledge of the evolution of taste in the world and the importance of aesthetic factors in daily life.
  • Performing arts: voice and speech training, rhythmology, choreography, high level of self-concept, self-discipline, control of emotions and moods: interpretation skills, basic knowledge of emotional effect on the body, high level of self-control, physical stamina: be familiar with your body, methods of fitness and preparation (warm up), basic knowledge of anatomy and injury rehabilitation, coaching skills,: ability to coach other people and to create collectively performances.
  • Literary arts: creative writing techniques, ability to create meaningful texts from random words and meanings, efficient use of word puns, convert images and emotions to text form.
  • Audiovisual and multimedia: seeing, drawing, and understanding form, visualizing shapes, relationships and functions, mastering use of color, space and line, giving abstract ideas visual form, analyzing dynamic forms, applying theories of composition, framing, and abstraction, understanding current issues in art and design.

Additionally, promotional and self-presentation skills have represented at a high frequency into the list of skills and competences that need further development. Similarly, coaching skills are considered also important for development, especially in Cultural Heritage and Performing Arts (coaching skills could enrich some professional status by adding the professional quality of a trainer/coordinator of workshops/coach of artistic groups).

Other important skills are related to leadership (motivate others, delegate) and to learning to learn competence. The difference we have noticed in the results of the above two classifications in relation to skills and abilities, represents an important part of mismatching of skills and competences of today’s creative and cultural sector. It also gives specific information for each subsector separately, providing a solid and justified base for future trends in the education sector.

Some of the important skills and competences that have been chosen, not concern technical and vocational skills in the narrow sense, but transversal skills.

Since a very significant proportion of the creative and cultural sectors’ professionals do not have formal education and/or vocational education relating to their professional profiles, a need is raising for certification of transferable skills and competences acquired in informal and non formal learning environments. The previous thought is supported by the findings in relation to the pedagogical approaches. Appropriate for optimal learning results are considered the experiential learning [(i) projects: learning by doing and (ii) experiential: thematic workshops]. It is preferred by a large proportion indicating that respondents want to use skills they already have in the context of learning and to base learning on lived experiences.

According to the Needs Assessment results, the several professional profiles of the creative and cultural sectors need to include a carefully designed combination of transferable and vocational and technical skills. Vocational Education and Training sector should respond accordingly, given emphasis on educational courses that can keep this balance. Certification sector should focus on programs that integrate skills and competences developed both in informal and non-formal learning environment and formal education.

In general in the three countries the reports show how there is a lack of information regarding the skills needed to enter the cultural and creative industries and develop careers, the range of occupations, and career progression. For employers and practitioners, there is a need for information on training, development, business advice and support.

How ArtS responds to these needs?

9 modules have been created by the ArtS partners for the target groups of the project. The modules are divided into Sector-specific and Common ones. The Sector-specific Modules were created with an aim to cover the specific needs of each sub-sector of the CCS. These 6 modules have the form of Workrooms where the professionals will be able to evolve in their field of artistic activity and expand their knowledge, skills and competence according to their needs. These modules focus on the specific needs they have depending on their sub-sector.

The designated Sector-specific Modules by sub-sector are:

  1. Craft
  2. Cultural Heritage
  3. Visual arts
  4. Audiovisual arts
  5. Literary arts
  6. Performing arts

Moving on to the 3 Common Modules, they correspond with the most important skills and competences, identified for the sub-sectors according to the survey, which are:

  1. Business administration /management
  2. Networking/ digital and media communication
  3. Entrepreneur skills and social entrepreneurship

The 1st round of Arts Programme delivery will be organized in the three consortium countries (Italy, Greece, Spain) from October 2016 to January 2017, it will last 3 months. It will be implemented using the blended learning:

o Instructor-led, classroom-based learning (face to face): The classroom-based learning will include both theoretical classes and workshops that will be open to interested professionals

o E-learning: interactive distant learning platform http://arts-project.eu/e-learning-platform/

To get the ECVET certification the trainees should be attend at least 4 modules:

  • The three common-modules
  • And at least one sector-specific module

Each module counts 50 hours, it means that a trainee  will attend in total at least 200 hours, for the 3 months period training.

In order to assess the competences acquired by the trainees, assessment exams criteria have been designed by the ArtS consortium. The assessment will verify if the learning outcomes (LOs) have been assimilated.

REFERENCES

[1] See: European Commission, Promoting cultural and creative sectors for growth and jobs in the EU, COM(2012)537, Brussels 26.9.2012.

[2] See: Eurostat, Newsrelease Euroindicators, 36/2015, 2 March 2015. (http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/documents/2995521/6664116/3-02032015-AP-EN.pdf/28d48055-3894-492d-a952-005097600ee0)

[3] Eurostat, Cultural Statistics, POEU, Luxemburg, 2011, p.67

[4] See: KEA, Promoting Investment in the Cultural and Creative Sector: financing needs, trends, and opportunities, May 2010, and HKU, The Entrepreneurial Dimension of the Cultural and Creative Industries, Hogeschoolvor de Kunsten Utrecht, Utrecht, 2010.

[5] See: European Commission, Promoting cultural and creative sectors for growth and jobs in the EU, COM(2012)537, Brussels 26.9.2012, p.4.

[6] Symbola & Unioncamere, Italian Quality and Beauty: compact report on the cultural and creative industries in Italy, Rome, 2013, p.71.

[7] Heinsius J. &Lehikoinen K. eds., Training Artists For Innovation: competencies for new contexts, Kokos Publications Series 2, 2013.

ArtS – Skills for the creative economy

ObjectivesActivitiesResultsPartnersInfo & contacts
  • To design and deliver a joint vocational training programme for low-skilled, unemployment and self-employed artists of the following areas: Craft, Cultural Heritage, Design, Music, Visual Arts, Literary Arts, Performing Arts
  • To develop an outcome oriented VET curriculum according to EQF/ECVET standards and responds to specific skill-shortages in the creative and cultural sectors’ market
  • To update professional competences of low-skilled artists and to provide them with management, business and networking skills
  • To reinforce cooperation with other VET providers, labour market and stakeholders and raise awareness about the problems and opportunities of the CCS (Cultural and Creative sectors)at a transnational level
  • Undertaking a needs and a state-of-the-art analysis in Spain, Italy and Greece about the sector skill shortages and ECVET strategy
  • Designing the curricula, certification and assessment methods
  • Developing ArtS portal that contains: e-learning platform, a career guidance section, ArtS forum, information on funding opportunities
  • Testing the online training material and deliver the curricula
  • Coordinator: KEK Eurotraining AE (Greece)
  • Athens Chamber of Tradesmen (Greece)
  • SWISS APPROVAL (Greece)
  • Sinergy of Music Theatre (Greece)
  • Libera – Associazioni, nomi e numeri contro le mafie, Palermo (Italy)
  • Melting Pro. Laboratorio per la Cultura (Italy)
  • Centro Studi e Formazione Villa Montesca (Italy)
  • Consorzio Universitario Piceno (Italy)
  • Fondo Formacion Euskadi Sll (Spain)
  • Asociacion Cultural Euroaccion Murcia (Spain)
  • Federacion Vizcaina de Empresas del Metal (Spain)

Follow the project IN ACTION

Date of project: 01/11/2014 – 31/10/2017

DG of reference: DG EAC, Erasmus+, Key Action 2, Sector Skills Alliances

Contact: CESIE: irene.pizzo@cesie.org

www.arts-project.eu