Entrepreneurship Research November 2021
The Drivers for Change
Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Concepts
The LAMDA Graduate Experience
Sustaining a Career in the Creative Industry
Supporting LAMDA Students to Develop Entrepreneurial Skills
Appendix A: List of Participants
Appendix B: Reviewed Documents
Appendix C: Alumni Career Journeys
Appendix D: Benchmark Research Summary
Appendix E: Summary of Recommendations
Lovesong, September 2020. Photography by Jemima Yong
Foreword ‘[Those] who stay open to change and are willing to listen and try different approaches are the [practitioners] who will have the longest careers.’ Paterson Joseph graduated from LAMDA’s acting course in 1998 and it was another ten years before he felt the industry would accept the range of his skills to incorporate writing and directing into his professional practice. However, the pace of change in the industry to that effect has vastly accelerated, even before the global pandemic of 2020; without Paterson’s fundamental understanding that nothing is ever wasted as a creative artist and that a career in the creative industries is far more like a spiderweb than a ski-lift, the evolution of his career as an actor, a writer, and a director would not be possible. He knows now, after a long and successful career in the performing arts, that developing various skills and adding many strings to one’s bow does not at all diminish creative focus but rather, these additional disciplines have nurtured and shaped his work enormously. LAMDA is not in the dark about the demands of the industry, which has changed significantly over the past two decades, and we have altered our training to reflect this; encouraging students to master innovative thinking, create their own work, supporting graduates with a public platform via our MishMash festival, partnering with corporate businesses such as Audible UK to develop professional work during study – but our awareness is also why we commissioned this research. The following pages are a culmination of a very important piece of work which confirms and manifests our instincts about career pathways for performing arts graduates, and which stands to shape the future of LAMDA’s training to foster portfolio careers. As tempting as it is to avoid mention of the biggest external factors of our time, it is Brexit and COVID-19 that further substantiate the findings of the research, highlighting the necessity for specialist arts graduates to remain flexible, innovative, and most of all, adaptable to an ever-changing landscape of the creative industries.
The research is a reminder that as a vocational school and an influencer in the creative economy, LAMDA is well positioned to put students in the drivers’ seats of their professional careers by nurturing business acumen and encouraging entrepreneurial mindsets and collaborative working that will improve employment outcomes, as well as lead to long and varied careers in the creative skills sector. This document is a concise coverage of the grounds upon which we can shape LAMDA’s future curriculum, bringing together all the training LAMDA offers, especially around employability, including the teacher training within our Exams division, and linking with the new DfE Skills for Jobs White Paper (January 2021). It gives us a framework to invest in our students through our graduates, creating a two-way street of benefit and added value. It helps us to prepare students and address attainment gaps, and enables us to have critical and productive conversations with the OfS. Additionally, this research enables us to move forward with other HEPs in terms of our pursuit of Enterprise and Knowledge Exchange partnerships. Ultimately, these findings will help to drive our structures and resources, as well as manage alumni and industry relationships, all the while supporting entrepreneurship and employability. Will Wollen,
Executive Dean of LAMDA
1. Executive Summary Halpin was engaged by LAMDA to carry out research to understand the different career pathways taken by their graduates and to establish ways in which the School could support students to develop entrepreneurial skills to improve their employability. Funding was provided by the Commercial Education Trust (CET).
The project involved a consideration of the career challenges faced by performing arts graduates and analysis of the concepts. Interviews with key LAMDA staff A desk review of published guidance or research into entrepreneurship within the creative sector Benchmarking with competitor institutions Interviews with LAMDA alumni Interviews with Deutsche Bank Award mentors Focus groups with current LAMDA students
The methodology included: Our findings have concluded that the reality of post-graduation career journeys is markedly different from the expectations and hopes of current students. High proportions of acting graduates are no longer active in the industry and others combine intermittent acting work with other employment. We identified that the first 12 months after graduation is particularly challenging because of a lack of practical and emotional support, and that there are several factors which are likely to help graduates in building and sustaining their careers. These include industry and business awareness, the ability to transition, and access to funding. We established that there are a number of opportunities for LAMDA to use the development of entrepreneurial skills to increase employability. A cultural shift is needed across the School to recognise a wider set of career paths as equally valid to a performing arts route, and additional resources are needed to ensure students have additional guidance to prepare them for 3
Nine Night, July 2020. Photography by Joseph Lynn.
successful careers in related roles or sectors. They also need increased exposure to the full breadth of performing arts careers, including the opportunity for work placements in a variety of settings. It has become clear that students and alumni are largely uncomfortable with the terms ‘enterprise’ and ‘entrepreneurship’ within the creative world. We found that there were both alumni and students who were interested in creating their own work, but it was largely for creative satisfaction rather than any commercial intent. As such, very few LAMDA students expect to become entrepreneurs. However, most recognise the value of developing the skills of thinking like an entrepreneur, realising that skills such as problem-solving and adaptability can help them to succeed in a rapidly changing world. We’ve therefore made a number of recommendations on the ways in which students can develop these skills. These include using the process of creating their own work and greater involvement with ‘live’ business venture projects, where they have to navigate through a myriad of problems and identify, evaluate and implement the solutions. We have also identified that additional investment is needed in managing the LAMDA alumni community, both to increase engagement and to measure the success of any employability strategy. 4
2. Introduction Halpin was engaged by LAMDA to carry out research into the area of entrepreneurship as a route to preparing students for successful careers in the creative industries. Funded by the CET, the project is intended to inform the development of a programme which supports students to develop entrepreneurial skills during their training and increase their employability.
Our project has set out to: Identify the different pathways that graduates are taking. Understand what students need in order to set up and sustain careers in the creative industries. Establish the ways that LAMDA could support students to develop entrepreneurial skills and encourage them to create their own enterprises.
This final report sets out our methodology, the key findings and makes a series of recommendations for LAMDA to consider.
2.1 The Drivers for Change It is difficult for all performing arts graduates to manage to create and sustain a successful career in the arts sector; the reality is that
Photography by SRTaylor Photography.
there are too many graduates and too few opportunities. This has been further exacerbated in 2020 by the global COVID-19 pandemic that has effectively brought the performing arts industry to a halt around the world. There are therefore three key drivers for an increased focus on the development of entrepreneurial skills: I. Driver 1: Increased Employability
In normal circumstances, there are three main routes for LAMDA graduates to improve employability outcomes: • to take more of the available jobs in the industry i.e. to win work at the expense of graduates from other drama schools. • to create new jobs in the industry i.e. new enterprises • to create successful careers in non-performing roles or industries.
Whilst the first route is not impossible, it would be challenging. This is because other schools are also going to be focusing on increasing graduate employability and because of the likely ongoing impact of COVID-19 on the industry. The final route is the one used currently by the majority of LAMDA graduates. However, it is widely seen as the second choice when the first one doesn’t materialise; as such, it can be accompanied with a level of dissatisfaction at the return on investment that the student has made in joining LAMDA. The conclusion is that for increased career success and satisfaction with the LAMDA experience, both the second and third routes have to become more attractive and viable options. II. Driver 2: A Portfolio Career is the Norm
Performing arts graduates will likely need to manage a portfolio career, characterised by involvement in multiple work projects at any one time. As a result, there are many different career pathways and trajectories and graduates are unlikely to have just one primary occupation. Having an entrepreneurial mindset will give them the practical and emotional skills to manage this more effectively. III. Driver 3: The Creative Sector is Largely Entrepreneurial
Entrepreneurial skills will be useful in almost every creative industry role. Because there are very few large graduate employers in the creative sector, the majority of graduates in the industry are likely to be either working for an SME, or working in an organisation which by nature has an entrepreneurial culture. The step-change in preparing graduates for employment is therefore focused on the idea that education needs to train artists in the broadest sense and to develop those abilities, skills and behaviours to manage a more diverse career. 6
3. Methodology The first part of our work was to understand the career paths that creative graduates take, the challenges that they face in building sustainable careers and LAMDA’s current approach to preparing students for employment. We also carried out desk research to understand the wider context and identify any examples of best practice from elsewhere in the sector. We began with a kick-off call with the Steering Group, when the approach was reviewed, documents for consideration agreed and a project timeline approved. We then carried out a series of calls with a selection of staff and alumni from LAMDA to understand the context, and drivers for change. In order to benchmark with other institutions with similar challenges, we carried out desk research with a group of competitors and held phone interviews with representatives from University of the Arts London, Royal Central School of Speech & Drama and Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. We also approached Guildhall School of Music and Drama and their partner Cause41 to learn more about their Entrepreneurs Programme, but received no response from either. After sharing an interim report with LAMDA on the findings to date, we then held interviews with LAMDA alumni, including those with previous involvement with the Deutsche Bank Awards for Creative Enterprises. Finally, we carried out two focus groups with a total of 11 current LAMDA students. Notes: • We are mindful that much of the content in this report is largely directed at those taking acting courses at
LAMDA. It was not our intention to ignore the other subjects but there was a clear bias towards those on acting courses amongst the alumni and students who contributed to the research. That said, whilst the numbers were small, there did seem to be a trend where graduates from the Directing course were more likely to be involved in creating their own work, which would be worth further exploration. Either way, we hope that our findings will be equally relevant to all courses at the School with appropriate adaptations. • We included international students and alumni in our research and their observations have been incorporated
into our report as appropriate. Unfortunately, there weren’t sufficient numbers in our research sample to draw any major conclusions or to develop bespoke recommendations for this group.
Image credit: LAMDA
• The murder of George Floyd took place on 25th May, just as this project reached its half-way point. The
subsequent Black Lives Matter campaign placed a spotlight on the lived experiences of black students at drama schools and the racial inequality that is endemic in the sector 2. We have therefore been mindful of this context whilst carrying out our research and, whilst not the intended focus of our work, committed to including any specific feedback about racial inequality at either the School or in the industry in our report. In practice, none was received. • Finally, where appropriate, we have included sections from our earlier Interim Report, often amended or updated,
as we believe it provides helpful and relevant context. The full list of those people we interviewed can be found in Appendix A and the list of documents provided for review is included in Appendix B. Shortened and anonymised career journeys of six alumni are included in Appendix C and a summary of the benchmarking research is in Appendix D. A complete list of our recommendations and suggestions is included in Appendix E.
1 www.cause4.co.uk 2 www.thestage.co.uk/news/drama-school-racism-students-call-out-top-schools-and-reveal-stories-of-abuse
4. Findings This section sets out our key findings and conclusions from our research. We first explore the concepts of enterprise and entrepreneurship and how they are perceived by LAMDA alumni and students. The subsequent sections then set out to understand the different pathways that LAMDA graduates follow and identify what they need to set up and sustain careers before exploring some of the ways that LAMDA could support students to develop entrepreneurial skills.
4.1 Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Concepts We heard from both alumni and students that they weren’t always clear on the meanings of these two terms.
For the purpose of this project, we’ve used the following interpretations: Enterprise is a set of abilities, skills and behaviours that can be used in a variety of different contexts to make a difference and add value. In the creative industries, this might include a high motivation towards independence, the skills to manage a portfolio career and a ‘making things happen’ attitude, which may include independent creative work. Being enterprising is therefore showing the skills needed to recognise and take advantage of opportunities. Entrepreneurship is using these skills to identify new opportunities and converting them into value (commercial, financial, cultural or social), typically through self-employment or new venture creation. Entrepreneurial skills therefore relates to spotting an opportunity and taking advantage of it.
In general, alumni hold a positive view of ‘enterprise’ as a concept (although possibly ‘enterprise’ itself may not be the right name for a course). The concept was described to us as: Making yourself more marketable
Knowing who to put on your team
Using your downtime more effectively
Using your own work as a vehicle to promote yourself
Developing interpersonal skills
A toolkit for proactivity.
Photography by Helen Maybanks for MISCHIEF.
On the other hand, entrepreneurship was a more divisive concept. Some saw eng aging with the business of the creative industry and the market in a positive way; taking a creative idea that has the potential to be commercially viable and translating it into an action plan. Others felt that entrepreneurship was the reverse of this; that the market opportunity is identified first, rather than the creative idea. This latter approach particularly highlights a potential tension between creativity and commerciality. Related to this was the doubt whether entrepreneurship was a realistic goal at all for those in the performing arts sector.
4.2. The LAMDA Graduate Experience One of the project’s goals was to better understand the different pathways that the LAMDA graduates have taken. On the whole, the School seems to have had limited engagement with alumni, particularly with those who have moved away from the industry. As a result, the School lacks comprehensive data on graduate destinations or journeys. Whilst our interviews with alumni gave us some insight into their experiences since graduation, we can’t be sure that these are fully representative of a wider group. Most alumni we spoke to had maintained some kind of ongoing relationship with LAMDA. They were also almost all still active in creative work in different formats. However, there were still some common themes from their experience which we believe will be useful insight. These are outlined below and some of their anonymised stories are also attached in Appendix C. 10
4.2.1 Getting an Agent Isn’t Everything
The Industry is much broader than initially realised; [alumni] found there are many different routes to follow which don’t require agent representation. Photography by SRTaylor Photography.
The focus for acting students in their final year at LAMDA is on securing a contract with an agent. This is seen as the primary end goal of their studies and the route to career success. We heard that those who graduate without an agent feel “a failure”. In addition, securing a UK agent isn’t an option for many international students unless they have an existing right to work in the UK, so the focus on this as the sole goal can leave international students feeling excluded. Yet almost without exception, their experiences of working with an agent was less than wholly positive. Some were able to find a few jobs, but within 18 months, most were either without any representation or had switched to a different agent. With the benefit of hindsight, the alumni learnt that there is a wide variety in the quality of agents and that the industry is much broader than they had initially realised; they found there are many different routes to follow which don’t require agent representation. Most concluded that getting an agent wasn’t the panacea to a successful career that they had originally thought. 11
4.2.2. The First Year After Graduation Can Be Decisive The insights into the first year after graduation have been particularly revealing. LAMDA is well aware that this can feel like a ‘cliff-edge’ to students, who can feel vulnerable after the safety of their time at LAMDA. For acting students, this is further complicated by the changing dynamics of the cohort, who become divided between those who have secured agents and are getting auditions, and those who have not. It was described to us as a “divisive” year, with embarrassment from both sides and discomfort with the level of competition that they faced. The irony is that just at the time when they needed the support of their classmates more than ever, they found that in many cases, it rapidly disappeared. From the stories we were told, the experience of this first year will determine whether graduates remain in the industry or take an alternative route.
4.2.3 Financial Constraints Exist Not surprisingly, many graduates make early career choices based on their financial circumstances. These included location – leaving London to return to the parental home, for example – and accepting non-creative jobs for the security of income, even if this meant struggling to find the time to prepare adequately for auditions or industry interviews. We intentionally spoke to alumni who had been active in some way in creating their own work since graduation, so they are unlikely to be representative of the wider group. We found that those people who had previous industry experience before joining LAMDA were particularly open to creating their own work from the start, whereas it was sometimes less deliberate for others.
In most cases, the graduates had started to create their own work for one of the following reasons: 1.
as a way to increase employability and chances of securing other paid work; either by promoting themselves or to further develop their skills.
for the creative satisfaction, because the type of work they wanted to do either didn’t exist, or wasn’t accessible or available to them at the time.
However, it seems that graduates rarely made their own work with the primary intention of creating a commercial success. This applies even to those who have experienced subsequent financial security from their ventures.
Instead, the lack of finance was quoted as a barrier to creating their own work. Not everyone has the financial luxury of giving it the time and investment that it might need. Many originally juggled paid “jobbing” work alongside their own projects, a task that was described to us as “like getting a dog and a baby at the same time”. In other words, these two routes can sometimes be in direct conflict with each other.
4.2.5 Alternative Work Routes Are the Norm The alumni shared that a significant proportion of their classmates – often around 80% or more – were no longer in the industry in any way. They may be working in related industries, or using some of the skills that they developed at LAMDA, but it is only a very small proportion who have managed to make a financial living in the way that they had originally intended. In many cases, those that classified themselves as “jobbing” actors also had other employment to sustain them financially during quieter periods. In terms of the non-acting routes that have been followed, there were numerous mentions of education in various formats (e.g. teaching, tutoring, or after-school activities). Some were offering services to the industry such as marketing or software. Others had linked their passion for performing arts with interests in other areas and were working in socially-engaged work (e.g. youth centres, prisons) or discovered that their performance skills were equally useful in a range of more commercial settings (business, sales, corporate work).
The following is the full list of jobs that were mentioned by alumni, either because they had done them or had LAMDA alumni friends who were doing them:
Little Shop of Horrors, February 2020. Photography by SRTaylor Photography. It was noticeable that the alumni were generally reluctant to talk in detail about many of these roles, especially those that were perceived as being unrelated to the industry. They would brush over them very quickly and dismiss them as unimportant, suggesting that there is a significant stigma attached to following a different path. 14
4.3 Sustaining a Career in the Creative Industry From our research, we’ve been able to establish a number of factors which are likely to help graduates in building and sustaining their careers. Some of these are related to
A Substantial and Structured Support System
the development of specific skills, while others relate to practical support or new knowledge and understanding. Whilst this list is largely based on student and alumni feedback, it is worth noting that many of them expressed doubts whether LAMDA is the right place to learn these skills. Even those that believed in the value of them had a preference for spending their limited time at LAMDA on their artistic development.
Sources of information, advice and guidance
Most alumni reflected that much of the required knowledge is inevitably
Access tresources such as physical space, PCs and printers
learnt best in real life, hence the interest in work placements and
A broad network
practical projects. Some remembered an accountant session on tax
Opportunities to stay connected with the sector, the School and classmates
given to them whilst they were at the School, but the feedback was very mixed; some welcomed it and had found it useful, but the same number said they found it incomprehensible and overwhelming. One alumnus said that the tax class came a day before graduation which wasn’t ideal,
Access to Funding
so perhaps the timing needs to be looked at. An approach which allows students to put these things into practice seems more likely to succeed. Despite this, there were a short number of specific subjects mentioned by alumni as areas where they would have welcomed workshops or similar whilst at LAMDA. These include fundraising, writing a case for support, building a budget, self-promotion (including social media), setting up a company (e.g. a production company) and basic accounting. These are all included in the list (opposite), which should serve as a solid starting point for internal academic and professional discussions on a new framework for employability: 15
Hardship bursaries Specific project funding (e.g. a competitive award for a new venture) Writing funding or grant applications Understanding of arts funding policy and opportunities Bid writing Business case writing Understanding of crowdfunding
Broader experience and understanding of the industry in its widest sense, to be able to identify and exploit all possible opportunities
Understanding the creative process and how different roles work together Potential role of new technology Growth areas Exposure to a range of small businesses and enterprises in the industry
Flexibility Communication skills
The Ability to Transition
Belief that alternative routes are equally valuable
Recognition of their transferable skills
Understanding how these can be applied to other roles in other sectors
Ability to learn from failure
Career planning and management
Basic accounting Ability to be self-employed Climate scanning Practical qualifications or experience (e.g. LAMDA exams tuition)
Ability to Create Own Work Self-confidence Understanding of the process Understanding of the costs e.g. costs of labour, building a budget
Equality and diversity Responsible and ethical practice Safe practice Interviewing skills
Finding the right partners
Management of administration
Collaboration and working with others
Building a budget
Marketing your work
Understanding of company status, structures and roles.
Social media marketing
Business and Operations Understanding
4.4. Supporting LAMDA Students to Develop Entrepreneurial Skills Whilst LAMDA alumni have created a number of commercially successful enterprises, we have found no evidence to suggest that this will ever be the aspiration of the majority. However, there is plenty of support for the development of entrepreneurial skills and for an increase in opportunities for students to create their own work. Both of these bring inherent value by themselves, whether or not they lead to commercial success. They will give graduates increased agency in managing their own career and ensure that they have the skills and experience to access an increased number of career options. It has become clear that there’s not one single approach which would sufficiently embed a culture of entrepreneurial thinking within the student experience. We have learnt that it needs an ‘eco-system’ of activities, with a mix of different types of events, partnership opportunities and training.
The next section sets out some of the ways in which LAMDA could support students to develop this mindset and skillset.
Photography by Helen Maybanks for MISCHIEF Photo is from MISCHIEF MOVIE NIGHT IN a theatre company formed with LAMDA alum.
there’s not one single approach which would sufficiently embed a culture of entrepreneurial thinking ....it needs an ‘eco-system’ of activities
4.4.1 Defining Success “Invite others into the building” All of the alumni we interviewed were supportive of LAMDA taking a broader definition of career success and embedding this into the culture and curriculum. They reported an “undercurrent feeling” that creating your own work was seen as “second-rate, not as exciting as getting something through your agent”.
Alumni experience since graduating has taught them that they hold a good many transferable skills. They would therefore have welcomed exposure to a wider range of examples throughout their time at LAMDA. Their experience since graduating has taught them that there are a wider variety of routes to follow to a successful career in the creative industries and that they hold a good many transferable skills. On the whole, the current students did not share this insight and understanding, defining their idea of career success as leaving LAMDA with an agent and “working consistently”. The exceptions to this were generally those students who had prior industry experience before joining LAMDA; they were more likely to share the views held by the alumni group that success was about doing work that held artistic value, or being able to “pursue your passion” in a much wider sense. We recommend (R1) that LAMDA takes practical steps to broaden the definition of career success for all its students, using examples taken from a wide range of settings (e.g. community theatre) and inviting those with more varied careers – in or out of the creative sector - into the School to interact with the students from the very start. Another related element is around the LAMDA marketing and admissions strategy. If the School is keen to educate students with wider ambitions than currently, then we recommend (R2) that this approach is embedded from the very start. This means being clear with prospective applicants about the School’s preference for candidates who can demonstrate an entrepreneurial mindset or an interest in creating their own work and testing for this at the application stage. It is a repositioning of the LAMDA brand, that moves from ‘actor training’ to ‘actor employability’.
4.4.2 Career Preparation “Every other institution spends a lot of time prepping their students for their summer placements - interview training, careers guidance and so on”. It was clear that both students and alumni appreciate that most graduates will need to manage a freelance career, juggling industry work with other employment. On the whole they accepted that they won’t always be working in their primary role, but they do have a clear preference for other work that they still find fulfilling and wouldn’t interfere too much with their main interest. A couple of the students felt that getting an agent was still the most important goal, but the majority were keen that LAMDA increased the time spent on preparing them for other routes. The suggestions from both alumni and students included: Guidance in finding suitable paid work that can be managed alongside the primary role;
Employment opportunities specific to LAMDA (e.g. running widening participation workshops);
Guidance in the range of roles for which their skillset would be a good fit (e.g. sales, marketing, fundraising);
A database of companies that employ actors to do corporate or other work (including voice work);
Guidance in using their skills to teach others (e.g. LAMDA Exams);
Learning how to promote themselves, how to conduct themselves in employment situations (e.g. traditional job interview, assessment centre, etc.).
We therefore recommend (R3) that LAMDA increases the time given to preparing students for employment in the widest sense. This should include the developing of emotional skills to manage a portfolio career but also practical experience and qualifications 3 . It could also include the establishment of an in-house temping agency, such as the one from the University of the Arts London 4 . This serves the dual purpose of giving students opportunities for valuable work experience whilst also the practical support of additional income.
3 Teaching, with a view to applying for associate fellowship of HE Academy or similar, British Sign Language qualifications, or training in teaching and assessing LAMDA Exams. 4 www.arts.ac.uk/students/student-careers/artstemps-temp-at-ual
4.4.3 Maximising the Value of the LAMDA Alumni Network “Been in a bubble and then thrown into the outside world” From alumni feedback, it is apparent that there has been insufficient investment in developing and managing the alumni network. We found that there was a lack of consistency in the post-graduation services offered to individuals (even from the same cohort), which were largely dependent on personal relationships rather than a structured programme of engagement. The lack of data on alumni destinations, especially for those that have moved away from the industry, is a concern. This unfortunately only serves to support the view of alumni that LAMDA is not interested in those who take a different path. Based on best practice from around the higher education sector, we recommend (R4) that additional resource is made available to alumni relations, with all School alumni tracked for at least 5 years and given access to careers support for at least 3 years. This investment will bring immediate returns to the School, with increased access to employers, a network of mentors from a wider range of roles and sectors and an increased choice of people to contribute to curriculum and extracurricular activities. Alumni engagement can take many forms and recommendations beyond a focus on employability are beyond the scope of this project. However, in terms of general career support, alumni have shared that they would particularly welcome: access to industry experts for advice and support; being able to use LAMDA premises; ways to keep themselves focused and ready to work; opportunities for CPD. There are also opportunities to broaden the Genesis scheme that already exists, and to create special interest sub-groups of the alumni network; for example, a specific enterprise community, focused on peer support for those setting up or running their own businesses; either for recent graduates, or for those slightly older ones who may make a later decision to set up their own creation. There could also be international networks set up for those living elsewhere in the world (e.g. a United States group), to give more local support and expanded networking opportunities.
Alumni have learnt that the wider employment options can often be more fulfilling than their original ambition. 22
Antigone, June 2021. Photography by Lidia Crisafulli
4.4.4 Industry Understanding “If their only experience is turning up and playing the role, then that’s all they will know” Some of the current students expressed concern about spending some of their limited time at LAMDA away from the development of their core skill. Their career aspirations were relatively narrow, compared to the reality of the experiences of the alumni group. This was especially true of the Classical Acting students. However, most of the others recognised the value that increased industry exposure would bring. Meanwhile, the alumni were almost universally enthusiastic about increasing LAMDA students’ exposure to industry, believing that it would give students a greater understanding of the opportunities and a chance to determine their particular areas of interest. With the benefit of hindsight, the alumni have learnt that the wider employment options can often be more fulfilling than their original ambition and that their performing arts skills have been usefully applied across a wide range of employment contexts. Their suggestions on ways to broaden the horizons of the curriculum included: Industry placements, either during the summer break or as a 3-month period during the final year of studies, in a range of settings that could include theatre administration and corporate work. Modules that focused on developing other skills e.g. teacher training. Being inclusive during projects by using a variety of settings (theatre-in-education, applied drama, community theatre, venue management etc), throughout the curriculum and extra projects e.g. “Imagine you are in a busy library”, rather than only “Imagine you are on the Olivier Stage”. Give students more opportunity to work on projects that model professional practice. “Ask them to put on a show together with all of the jobs – lighting, sound, tickets, posters, worrying about whether people will turn up, collaborating with others”. This could be a summer project, culminating in a festival performance, for example. Working as a team to respond to ‘live’ briefs for external clients that give an insight into alternative career routes, e.g. non-creative roles in the creative industry, or creative roles in a non-creative sector. Cross-disciplinary approaches, including encouraging engagement with new technologies.
Earthquakes in London, February 2020. Photography by SRTaylor Photography. Industry placements have become the norm across many subject areas of higher education, recognised for the valuable insight and experience they give to students, as well as an opportunity to make connections with potential future employers. It is revealing that it was the alumni, who have the benefit of post-graduation work experience, who had a much more developed sense of what they value in a role and had reached the realisation that “really good work can happen anywhere”. They are less concerned about prestige and much more interested in working with people that they like and in a positive environment. We therefore recommend (R5) that LAMDA identifies the most appropriate opportunity on each course for students to undertake a work placement. We recognise that this is a major undertaking, both in terms of finding appropriate placements and supporting students during the period that they are with the employer, but evidence suggests that the benefits it brings both to the student’s employability and the School are significant5. It is likely that additional consideration will need to be given to the feasibility of placements for international students. We also recommend (R6) that the programme of external speakers and industry engagement is reviewed and refreshed, to ensure that it represents the full range of career routes available. It should include ‘real models’ as well as ‘role models’, showing the diversity of performance and non-performance positions in the industry.
4.4.5 Creating Original Work “There’s nothing better than creating content, even if it goes nowhere” The student focus groups showed a clear divide between those who were excited about creating their own work and those who perceive it as unrelated to their primary goal. Those who were enthusiastic about the opportunity shared similar views to the alumni.
The key points from their collective feedback are: If they love their craft and want to spend as much time as possible on it, they’ll always end up creating their own work. This might be in holidays or at lunchtimes, simply for their own enjoyment. This is separate from starting their own business and carries no intention of commercial success. They recognise that if they only want to do the kind of work they are most interested in, then they are likely to have to create their own work; they can’t rely on others. Creating their own work is more interesting than other “traditional jobs”. If what they want to do doesn’t exist, or if they consider the work from their agent is dull, then the solution is to spend time on the things they want to do. Creating their own work in their spare time develops their skills and makes them more employable; it was compared to “a boxer, keeping yourself in shape between fights”. It is rarely a solo project; it takes a community. Knowing who to work with is part of the challenge.
The majority of alumni and students also shared that they initially found the idea of creating their own work to be “scary” and overwhelming. This is a significant barrier to co-creation, so we recommend (R7) that LAMDA identifies ways to ‘demystify’ this and gives students the time within their curriculum to devote to the creation and performance of their own work. Initially, this might simply be at a small project-level within each course. However, we also recommend (R8) that LAMDA considers the feasibility of a more high-profile annual event for the School which is focused on self-created work. For example, both Rose Bruford 6 and Trinity Laban use annual festivals as space for their students to create their own work, as well as an opportunity to link their students with the industry. Trinity Laban’s event is CoLab7, where the entire curriculum is halted for two weeks every February, and every student is given agency over their own work and contribution. The focus is on student development - working with other 25
people, bringing together the transferable skills rather than academic content. Although it culminates with a day of sharing the outcomes, the process is equally important as the final performance. The event has “acted as a catalyst for a mindset change” at the institution, which now also plays a role in attracting students with a greater interest in creative and entrepreneurial work. It is now embedded into their strategy and also serves to develop and cement links with industry. It is worth noting that while there was a lot of positivity for the idea of creating work, the point was also made that this will never be a universal goal; “not everyone feels the need to tell a story of their own”. So some reluctance, possibly from both staff and students, is to be expected, especially in the early stages of implementation.
4.4.6 Access to Funding “I didn’t have a big trust fund to fall back on” Funding alone is no guarantee of success. In fact, the Deutsche Bank Award winners were more likely to speak positively about the impact of the accompanying mentor support than the funding that accompanied the Award. However, as we’ve already identified, there are circumstances in which graduates are significantly constrained in their career options because of their financial situation. In an interview with one alumnus, it was noted that while widening access (especially to those with diverse backgrounds) is to be commended and supported, the challenge is that those students may struggle to sustain themselves financially after graduation – particularly if living in London. He suggested there should be more of a conversation with students from disadvantaged backgrounds around, ‘What are you going to do next? Where will you live? How will you support yourself?’ – and more support after graduation. Mindful of the current financial challenges facing both the arts and the higher education sectors, we recommend (R9) LAMDA carries out a feasibility study to determine the possibility of being able to raise funds and support for a series of themed bursaries or awards. This could be a Professional Development or Entrepreneurial Fund, possibly with additional support attached such as workshops, training, business support and mentoring. At the same time, the School should identify and promote other suitable external funding opportunities to students and alumni.
6 www.bruford.ac.uk/careers-industry/symposium/ 7 www.trinitylaban.ac.uk/creative-innovation/colab
4.5 Implementation 4.5.1 Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Terminology With only a couple of exceptions, LAMDA alumni and students feel uncomfortable with the use of the terms enterprise and entrepreneurship within the creative world. It is seen as corporate and business-like, with negative associations 8 that are seen as “scary”, too “businessy”, and “too much about money”. They fear that the use of these terms would deter students from engaging with the subject matter, unless the rationale and the link to their creative work was made very clear. One student even declared they would be “offended” to be called an entrepreneur, and another alumni (having created a successful enterprise) was happy to be described as “entrepreneurial, but not an entrepreneur”. In the hope of finding alternative terms, we asked the student focus groups to share their suggestions on how to describe the type of career development that would prepare them for a freelancer or entrepreneur career. Interestingly, even those who were very cautious about the use of both terms found it very difficult to offer alternatives that would fit better with a creative agenda . The only suggestions we received were: Industry preparation or training
The business of being an actor
Portfolio or sustainable freelancer
The business of theatre
The business of freelancing It is worth noting the view of Richard Sant, Head of Careers & Employability at UAL, who believes that there is a ‘false distinction’ between enterprise and employability in the creative sector. For arts graduates, given the prevalence of freelance careers and the increased chances of working for an SME, they are just the same. As we noted in our Interim Report, the use of these terms across the creative industry is mixed. For example, they are notably absent from the websites of other drama schools, though used regularly across the Arts Council website. Furthermore, the entrepreneurship and enterprise agenda across other areas of higher education is growing considerably, supported by organisations such as the National Centre for Entrepreneurship in Education 9 . 8 The Apprentice, Dragon’s Den etc.
Therefore, whilst there are some clear links with creative practice which can offer a complementary set of transferable skills10, the issue for LAMDA is the extent to which it has an appetite to adopt one or both of these terms. Given the opposition that we have found, we believe it would be a bold move to do so, but one that would send a very clear signal to stakeholders (including prospective applicants, current students, alumni and the wider industry) on the importance of this to the School’s strategy and positioning. We therefore recommend (R10) that the School considers the extent to which it is confident in adopting the use of ‘enterprise’ and ‘entrepreneurship’ terms to describe the approach to preparing students for sustainable careers.
4.5.2 Embedding Entrepreneurial Skills Development Within the LAMDA Structure To fully embed the activities outlined above, there are a number of structural factors which LAMDA will need to consider. Embedded in the Curriculum
We recommend (R11) that the entrepreneurial skills development programme be embedded in the curriculum, rather than sit alongside it. It needs a framework to give structure and meaning, such as the ‘Creative Attributes Framework’ developed by the University of the Arts London. They use this as a ‘point of reference for how we talk about and develop enterprise and employability’.11 It has three capacities (Making Things Happen, Showcasing Abilities, Navigating Change), each underpinned by three attributes. Another (non-creative) example is from Advance HE12, which has developed an Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Framework designed to facilitate the education experience. The feedback from both UAL and Trinity Laban was clear about the importance of engaging the academic staff in this type of embedded programme, but they were also open about the challenges involved in the process. The curriculum is, after all, academic responsibility; so pressure from an administrative centre to insert employability skills into their course is not always welcomed. UAL’s approach was to identify those academic staff that did recognise the importance of the subject and who were willing
10 For example, innovative performance practice developing students’ confidence in risk-taking, team building and cooperation, project management skills; and improvisation used to identify opportunities and drive decision-making. 11 www.arts.ac.uk/about-ual/teaching-and-learning-exchange/careers-and-employability/creative-attributes-framework 12 www.advance-he.ac.uk/knowledge-hub/framework-enterprise-and-entrepreneurship-education
4.5.2 Embedding Entrepreneurial Skills Development Within the LAMDA Structure to engage with the programme. Describing it as an ‘iterative process’, they worked collaboratively to develop the framework, seeking consensus at every step. For example, they led a workshop with academic staff where they identify the points in the existing degree programme where students developed skills like self-efficiency and agility. They physically mapped the entire degree content across a wall and used colourful stickers to match the current curriculum with skills development. This resulted in a visual representation that also allowed them to identify the gaps. The success of one programme increases the chances of the same approach being adopted elsewhere and UAL found that they also won traction in using the framework as part of new course development or programme revalidation processes.
Photography by Richard Hurbert Smith.
The CoLab festival at Trinity Laban is now embedded into the culture and curriculum, but the programme director admits that he had to “work quite hard to sell it” when it was first launched. The more traditional academic staff were openly critical. They took a similar approach to UAL, working collaboratively with the group of staff who were open to a new approach and the Director believes that the festival eventually “acted as a catalyst for a mindset change’ at the institution. We also recommend (R12) that at least some level of entrepreneur skills training be compulsory for every student. This is the only way to demonstrate the School’s commitment to the programme. However, some flexibility is likely to be needed in adapting the provision to each different course. Therefore a pyramid model could be most appropriate, with training that is considered essential for every student (e.g. Level One), training that is subject-specific and compulsory for some courses (e.g. Level Two) and training that is more specialised and tailored only to those students who are interested in pursuing a new business venture (e.g. Level Three). Structural Responsibility
We recommend (R13) that responsibility for any skills development and employability programme is held centrally within the School and not at subject level. Doing the latter would ignore the opportunities for greater coordination and an institution-wide ethos and approach. For example, LAMDA could consider setting up a central Careers and Employability team, similar to that at the University of Arts, London13 who focus on linking enterprise with career development.
4.5.3 Measurement of Success To be able to measure the impact of any new programme, the School must first understand the current position. At the moment, the School does not have complete alumni destination data and it does not track the number of successful new enterprises set up by alumni. We therefore recommend (R14) that steps are taken to define what constitutes a successful new enterprise (e.g. by duration, size, turnover, social impact etc) and this data is captured, monitored and benchmarked with other competitors on an annual basis. Given that no clear results will be available for at least two or three years, alternative measures of success will need to be used; for example, the volume of relevant projects, external visits and events, alongside student feedback and levels of industry and alumni engagement.
5. Concluding Remarks We hope that our research and analysis of the potential of entrepreneurship as a route to preparing students for successful careers will make a useful contribution to your plans. In particular, we hope that we have identified some practical activities that the School can implement to increase the career options available to your graduates. Halpin would like to thank all of the members of the LAMDA project team for their support and contributions to the research. We would especially like to thank the Commercial Education Trust for funding the research and their Trustee David Willetts for playing such an active and enthusiastic role in the project. We also owe great gratitude to the students and alumni who gave up their time to talk to us; their openness, interest and commitment to LAMDA is commendable.
Photography by Helen Maybanks for MISCHIEF Photo is from MISCHIEF MOVIE NIGHT IN a theatre company formed with LAMDA alum.
List of Participants Internal
• Anthony Quinn, Head of Screen and Audio Performance LAMDA
• Amy Cudden, Lecturer, LAMDA • • • • •
Debbie Seymour, MA Director & Semester Courses, Emily Carewe, LAMDA Alumnus and Founder of MishMash Festival Rob Young, Head of Technical Training, LAMDA Sarah Frankcom, Director, LAMDA Sue Rivers, Project Director (Strategic Academic Projects),
• Joe Townsend, Head of CoLab, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance
• Jessica Bowles, Course Leader, MA/MFA Creative Producing, Royal Central School of Speech & Drama
• Lucy Nicholson, Communications & Alumni Manager, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance
• Richard Sant, Head of Careers & Employability, University of the Arts London Deutsche Bank Award Mentors
• John Krumins • Tim Lloyd-Hughes
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Adam Scott-Rowley Bethany McDonald Shepherd Bryan Moriarty Chris McGill Ellie Fanyinka Georgina Strawson Gilbert Kyem Jr Henry Lewis Jim Smith Libby Penn Meera Simhan Nathan Crossan Smith Patrick Gleeson Tristan Shepherd Raj Paul
• • • • • • • • • • •
Alexandre Dewen Aaron Cash Bailey Murphy Cameron Hutt Imogen Mackie Walker Isabel Salazar Macushla McGown Marco Voli Meg Stoll-Tron Raveena Ambani Thom Petty
Reviewed Documents List of Reviewed LAMDA Documents
• • • • • • • • • •
190911Tef Provider Submission Final LAMDA KE 2019-20 LAMDA Limited Signed Accounts YE 31 July 2019 05a Strategy Map 000 LAMDA Self-Assessment Document for Degree Awarding Powers June 2019 Genesis Actors Network at LAMDA – Summary Presentation 11VK The Genesis Actors Network at LAMDA Genesis Report (draft) LAMDA Employment Strategy 2017-2020 Organisational Chart – March 2020 Photography by SRTaylor Photography.
Alumni Career Journeys “A” “A” left LAMDA with an agent and initially had “lots of auditions and a couple of jobs”. However, she described the material she was sent as unsatisfying; “you spend 3 years on great texts then get sent a Hollyoaks script”. The combination of this, together with her first agent dropping her after 18 months, resulted in her starting to make her own work. She had “got the bug” to do so while at LAMDA, but felt that there was an “undercurrent that if you were making your own work, creating something for yourself, it was seen as dirty or second-rate, not as exciting as getting something through your agent”. She described having to battle with this perception for a few years. She’s continued to have an agent throughout her career, but this hasn’t been the route that has brought about work. Her income from acting is “very small” and she combines this with her own theatre company, some private teaching work, some “IT stuff” and some directing. She’s now studying for a part-time master’s degree in a related area.
“B” Although he had no drive to start his own business, “B” applied for the Deutsche Bank Award, as a back-up plan when he saw his fellow students being “snapped up by top agents”. With a friend, he used this funding to run a theatre company for two years, resulting in two small productions. They took the decision to stop it afterwards, as running his own company and trying to launch his acting career was “like getting a dog and a baby at the same time”. Since then, he’s been a jobbing actor, combining this with some writing, some creative projects and working for an after-school company. About 60% of his time is spent on these other jobs. Although he said his initial ambition was to be a full-time actor at the National, he’s since realised the most important thing in an acting job is it being a good environment, working with people he likes and enjoying the work. He understands now what he values most and is less concerned with prestige.
“C” “C” was a recipient of the Deutsche Bank Award and used it to create a pilot for a TV series. She was also working in a pub for a year, receiving scripts at 6pm for an audition the next day but because her shifts wouldn’t finish till 1am, she had little time to prepare, wasn’t able to learn the script in time, was turning up exhausted and wasted her opportunities. Though she did get some acting jobs, she also felt like she had ideas that were valuable and so started to co-create with a friend. She describes herself as a “jobbing actor”, but also still creates her own work and supplements her income with corporate work for two days each week (“high-end lead generation”). She also does voice work, despite saying that this opportunity wasn’t mentioned whilst she was at LAMDA. She said she feels it is frowned upon, but it is another useful way of finding income. 35
“D” “D” left LAMDA feeling “knackered” and with no money left to stay in London. So he returned to the parental home and used the Deutsche Bank Award to fund a programme of delivering theatre in prison settings. He reflects that this was a useful way to build up his skillset for further projects. Since then he’s focused on socially engaged work in youth centres, referral units and prisons. He has also worked for LAMDA, running workshops for the widening participation team, described as a “good source of income”.
“E” Also a Deutsche Bank Award winner, “E” quickly realised her business plan wasn’t feasible. The potential costs were too high and there was little interest from the industry in the idea. But she thought that the software element of the plan could have other applications, so took this and started to work for small start-ups as a software developer. She’s been doing that ever since, building apps and websites that are “disruptive”. She had wanted to build a creative career in theatre and had hoped her technical skills were the route into this, but she discovered the theatre industry has clear delineations between creative and technical and “it is hard to move between”. As a technician at LAMDA, she said they were told “never say no to a director”, so the idea that even if you have expertise, you can’t use it was embedded. She reflected that this might be appropriate in the industry, but described it as an “unhelpful mindset” in the wider world.
“F” F has been acting for a lmost 3 decades, and she’s still working. She’s had good roles in theatre, film, tv. She writes, and says she has a full life. She describes acting as “a forward thinking, hustling career - waiting for something to land so you can feel settled, but you never really settle - there’s always a new hustle”. In her early days she did plenty of waiting tables - it wasn’t something she relished but she also accepted it was part of the life she had chosen, and it gave her the flexibility to pursue acting. She is always learning more - especially as she has reached a new age range. Being able to market herself has been very important, and she notes that there is a business aspect that people don’t want to talk about - but it’s a “very real thing”. As a South Asian woman she has found that there are very few roles available. When she left LAMDA England was having a British Asian “boom” - but that wasn t the case in LA and she found herself working gig to gig. These days she is writing too, because it’s part of who she is as a creator. She commented that it s really important to dream big and believe that a break is going to happen when you are starting out - that is what gives you the drive. But she has learned in later life that it is wise to connect to something else that you also love as an anchor.
Benchmark Research Summary Institution
Evidence of employability / Enterprise / Entrepreneurial Development for Students
Bristol Old Vic
Three community tours to school and theatre audiences in year 2.
Professional Acting BA (Hons) – Module of ‘Self Presentation/Marketing/Career Management’ (15 credits) in Year 3. Production Arts (Stage & Screen) BA (Hons) – Module of ‘Employment Focus’ in Year 3 (40 credits)
Guildhall School of Music & Drama
BA Hons Acting - Year 3 emphasis is on productions (145 credits), alongside a Career Prep module (5 credits). This latter module includes showcases to agents and prospective employers, visiting professional tutors, etc. Separate course Performance & Creative Enterprise (PACE): includes an Enterprise modules, focuses on basic project management skills, plus writing and pitching proposals (Year 1), fundraising, budgets, marketing and contracts (Year 2) and creating a CV and career plan (year 3). Includes a 6-week residency in Year 3 and a final project running over 2 terms that includes a 150 hour placement. Guildhall Innovation Funding scheme, which gives their staff an opportunity to grow initial research ideas, pilot projects or explore research concepts. (No mention of it available to students though). Also have a ‘Guildhall Creative Entrepreneurs’ programme, which is an incubator for launching or growing performing arts enterprises. Run in partnership with Casue4, who provide the business skills. It’s a non-accredited programme for 12 months, costs £1,500 and is part-time (sessions on a Wednesday each week in term time). Set up over 35 businesses since 2013. www.gsmd.ac.uk/youth_adult_learning/guildhall_creative_entrepreneurs/about_the_scheme
Royal Birmingham Conservatoire
BA Acting: Professional Development course in Year 3 (20 credits)
Royal Central School of Speech & Drama
StART Entrepreneurship Scheme – awarded £900,000 by OfS and Research England. Led by Royal Northern College of Music, with UAL and Central. Central’s project will focus on in-curricula and extra-curricular – key aim is for students to understand selfresponsibility. Also offer an Enterprise Award, supported by 2 workshops each term which are open to everyone. Students pitch and develop the idea, total fund is £25k. Admits it is mostly about marketing the School.
Evidence of employability / Enterprise / Entrepreneurial Development for Students
Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
BA Acting: deliver workshops in schools (Year 2), collaborate with peers to explore new and devised work in the On the Verge Festival (year 2), perform in industry showcases (Year 3)
Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama
Annual new writing festival which enables students to work with up-and-coming writers and directors. Courses ‘also feature opportunities for students to explore their own ideas, develop original work and take part in masterclasses’.
Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance
Make regular use of the ‘portfolio career’ term.
Also has Professional Practice modules in both Year 2 (work applications, audition approaches, castings and entrepreneurship – 20 credits) and Year 3 (classes in tax, personal finance, CV layouts, audition prep, preparation for and performance of the industry – 15 credits)
Talk about the fact that performing is unlikely to be a student’s only income stream from the very start – at admission point. Enterprise and entrepreneurship is embedded into the curriculum, led by each of the two faculties (dance & music). There is a project run as a module where students have to do a proposal from concept to delivery (marketing, promotion, budgeting etc). Have industry visitors talking about a range of careers; also talks on tax, grants etc. Have an Innovation Award, for which students apply with a business idea, win £3k seed funding and alumni mentoring (6 winners each year). Also run CoLab – a two-week festival of self-generated work.
The usual career development training for students. But the overall ‘vibe’ is about community and creation; they share their space with 328 arts and creative organisations; 5,000 people visit each year to exercise, training, dance, act, sing and develop their craft in their spaces including commercial, not for profit and community organisations and alumni. And they pride themselves on reaching talent from that may feel excluded from further training due to socioeconomic reasons – they have 54 ‘scouting partners’ nationwide.
Benchmark Research Summary Cont Institution
Evidence of employability / Enterprise / Entrepreneurial Development for Students
Say ‘as well as performing, many graduates become directors, writers and producers, creating their own work, founding their own companies and running leading theatre venues across the UK. The transferable skills in the training have also enabled graduates to further their studies and establish careers in psychology, teaching, law, communications, business and life coaching, elite sports coaching and public speaking’. (NB, though all the ‘recent destinations’ listed are performance related only. Year 1 of BA Acting – ‘cross disciplinary teaching, including close study of play scripts, self-reflection, research-led projects on theatre history and collaborations with students on other courses as well as personal and professional development’. Speakers from a range of industries and walks of life – politics to arts, photography, neuroscience and religion. Professional development sessions, include: - Tax and self-employment - Budgeting, both for personal and productions, grants and funding bodies RADA Buddy mentoring scheme – graduate buddies provide professional advice, feedback, networking throughout the final year and beyond. Opportunities for acting in RADA Festival productions, including self-led creative projects. NB: they don’t use the word ‘enterprise’ or ‘entrepreneurial’ anywhere on their site.
Rose Bruford College
Have an annual ‘Symposium’ – a 3-day festival of events, music, performance, exhibitions and workshops ‘that celebrates the creative practice and research of the College’s students and staff alongside that of key external artists and academics’.
University of Leeds
A range of resources to help student start their own business, including competitions,
Enterprise Year as an alternative to a Placement Year; provides a £3,000 bursary and the support of their Enterprise team: www.dmu.ac.uk/dmu-students/careers-and-employability/start-a-business/enterpriseplacement-year.aspx
Institution Central St Martins (UAL)
Evidence of employability / Enterprise / Entrepreneurial Development for Students The Enterprise team run their careers team. They believe there is a false distinction between enterprise and employability – for the creative sector, they are the same. Head count in the whole team is 33 (including enterprise centre, IP service, enterprise & awards, then the usual career skills). Careers Attribute Framework which is needed for embedding enterprise into the curriculum. It is a difficult thing to do – can be resistance from academics – but the enterprising attributes were already being developed, so the framework helps students to recognise it. They arrive with a tunnel vision and need support to see wider picture. Narrowness can self-perpetuate. Taken the approach that mindset, attitude etc are more important than an interview skill. So they develop confidence and drive. Enterprise activity is organised on a pyramid structure; some things are voluntary, others compulsory.
Different ethos. Intro to the Acting course: “The overall aim of the Acting track is to guide students in becoming versatile, well-rounded theatre artists who have the skills to pursue their own creative and professional paths. Accordingly, CalArts seeks talented performers who are engaged with their imaginations, guided by their passions and compelled to speak their stories.” Is clear about this different goal from the start. Different structure – elective modules, so students have more choice. Includes modules such as Arts and Activism, Art & Community Engagement, Entrepreneurship: The Artist as Entrepreneur.
Photography by SRTaylor Photography.
Summary of Recommendations As a result of our research, our findings for which are set out in the main report, we make a number of recommendations: Practical steps are taken to broaden the definition of career success
for all its students, using examples taken from a wide range of settings and inviting those with more varied careers into the School. A wider definition of career success is embedded in the School’s marketing and
admissions strategy, being clear that LAMDA are looking for candidates who can demonstrate an entrepreneurial mindset and testing for this at the application stage. The time given to preparing students for employment in the widest sense
R4 R5 R6 R7
is increased, including the development of emotional skills to manage a portfolio career but also practical experience and qualifications. Additional resource is made available to alumni relations, with all School alumni tracked for at least 5 years and given access to careers support for at least 3 years. The most appropriate opportunity on each course for students to undertake a work placement is identified. The programme of external speakers and industry engagement is reviewed and refreshed, to ensure that it represents the full range of career routes available. Ways to demystify the idea of co-creation of original work are identified, and students are given time within the curriculum to devote to the creation and performance of their own work.
R8 R9 R10 R11 R12 R13
The feasibility of a more high-profile annual event which is focused on self-created work is considered. A feasibility study is conducted to determine the possibility of being able to raise funds and support for a series of themed bursaries or awards. The School considers the extent to which it is confident in adopting the use of ‘enterprise’ and ‘entrepreneurship’ terms to describe the approach to preparing students for sustainable careers. An entrepreneurial skills development programme is embedded into the curriculum, rather than sit alongside it.
At least some level of entrepreneurial training is compulsory for every student.
Responsibility for any skills development and employability programme is held centrally within the School and not at subject-level. Steps are taken to define what constitutes a successful new enterprise (e.g. by
duration, size, turnover, social impact etc) and this data is captured, monitored and benchmarked with other competitors on an annual basis.
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London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art