The cuts to the art industry is one of the most short-sighted acts of vandalism in recent years. With prospects for graduates glooming, what support can art students look to?
Google search results can be terrifying. See also: uncertain career paths, wonky prospects, and a vague idea of what life after art school even is. After chalking-up years of arduously studying art, history, and a whole lot of Foucault, art students slip into a workforce that doesn’t always appreciate the curation of heterotopias, but would rather appreciate extra foam on their cappuccino. Occupying Starbucks, art student’s attitudes become as bitter as the coffee they’re hired to make.
The landscape that art graduates encounter isn’t one Theresa May would find strong or stable. It’s on shaky grounds, and not many institutions are facing the matter of art graduates. In 2016, only 69.1% of fine art graduates landed a job. Such jobs were mainly retail, catering, and a rather ominous ‘other’ category. This is as worrying as it is important. These statistics make a powerful and compelling case for the precarious situatedness of graduates. Is studying Herodotus something we should pay people to do? Currently, it’s a no. The cultural work graduates can offer is restricted, dismissed, and erased by non-art circles. The (mis)treatment of art graduates is a sign that something is wrong with how particular societies locate the arts.