The arts sector offers an incredible range of exciting and diverse career options. However, navigating it and figuring out how to get onto your chosen career path can be unclear.
The creative industries don’t tend to mass recruit so you might have to think a bit differently about how you find and approach opportunities.
Understanding what kinds of experience and qualifications you need in order to pursue your desired career is an important first step.
Many industries expect to see a portfolio or are looking for specialist skills. Our sector guides are a great place to start when looking to kick-start a career in the arts.
These helpful guides have tailored information and advice about industries such as the performing arts, digital media, and heritage.
Finding work opportunities
Finding opportunities in the arts can be more difficult than in STEM. Less opportunities are widely advertised in the arts industries, particularly in very competitive sectors such as film and television.
Making speculative applications is therefore a great way to target your energies towards the companies and the roles that you would like. Even if your application is not successful, speculative applications can be a great way to get on a company’s radar and make connections which may help you in the future.
Hi! My name is Ella and I am a second-year English student and Career Peer Support Assistant at the Careers Service.
In February I attended the “Careers in media: film, TV and radio” panel event, as part of the Faculty of Arts Careers Series.
The Alumni panel included:
Ceci Golding: Producer at the BBC
Kaia Rose: Multimedia Content Lead at Connect4Climate
Owain Astles: Freelance Film Director
Rosalind Arnell: Senior Music Producer at Classic FM
Film, TV, and radio are thriving sectors renowned for their popularity and competitiveness. The media industry has seen a shift post-pandemic, with the increase in streaming services creating a huge quantity of new and flexible opportunities.
The media sector contributed 111 billion pounds to the UK economy pre-pandemic. The South West, in particular Bristol, is a thriving media hub which employs around 50,000 people in a wide variety of roles.
Journalism and the media play a crucial role within society – observing and reporting on current events, facts, and ideas to inform people about the world and how it operates.
On 1 November 2022, three professional alumni speakers, Aasmah Mir, Mel Rodrigues and David Afikuyomi, shared their experiences at our ‘How to get into Media and Journalism Event’ for Social Science and Law students.
With varied backgrounds in TV production, presenting, and academic article distribution, they offered valuable insights on how to utilise your passions and be successful in this competitive and evolving industry.
February is a special month for those studying in the Faculty of Arts, as the Careers Service and Faculty collaborate to host the annual Faculty of Arts Careers Series, spanning four weeks from 1 to 25 February 2022.
The pandemic has impacted so much, including the world of work. The ongoing uncertainty can feel de-motivating; it may feel easier to avoid thinking about careers right now and to put it off until later. However, it could be an ideal time for career thinking and looking at what the Faculty of Arts Careers Series has to offer, (more…)
We’re often asked for a list of graduate vacancies in the media. The problem is it doesn’t really exist. At least not in one place. But the good news is that with determination and creativity you can hunt down hidden opportunities.
Iona describes her experience of the SME Internship Schemes during her final year at the University of Bristol. If you’re inspired by her story, you can find out more about the schemes and how to get involved here.
Hi, I’m Iona. I graduated with a degree in Cellular and Molecular Medicine in July, and from March to June interned as an Assistant Editor at the leading events website in the city – 365bristol.com – through the Santander scheme. (more…)
The first three days of the Faculty of Arts Careers Week took place from 26th-28th February. Students heard from over 27 alumni and professionals on their respective careers, as speakers shared their experiences of how they have progressed through their career from graduation, and how to forge a successful career. Tips and advice were given, and students were able to hear about the positives and negatives of a variety of roles and sectors.
Last week, more than 15 industry experts – most of whom are Bristol alumni – came in to give talks, workshops and present case studies about all things media and creative. Film, TV, radio, publishing, the art world and the importance of having great ideas were all covered – for a list of speakers and their organisations, see our in-depth summary on mycareer.
Aside from things you’d expect to hear from creative professionals (expect a varied workload, the importance of getting your foot in the door, be innovative, don’t forget ab
out small to medium enterprises and how there’s no one definitive career path), there were a number of themes which youmight not have expected. This blog post will explore those and hopefully give you the opportunity to stand out in these competitive industries.
Watch, listen, read Not just the people, shows or books you’re interested in or would like to work for – go bigger, immerse yourself! Watch TED talks (recommended by Laura from Speed Communications, highlighting the one on Airbnb), watch shorts and first feature films (tip from Kate O’Hara, Creative England), go to art fairs (Adriana, IESA) and think carefully about audiences (Rob from BBC History magazine had students in his workshop working out who their perfect reader was).
There are no excuses!
Many of our speakers said this exact phrase, multiple times and they’re right. With the amount of free technology, apps and programmes available, there’s no reason not to make your own content, building a portfolio of your work to take to interview or when shadowing somebody. Make your
own demo (that was a top tip from Paris Troy, Heart radio), get some videos online (Will Wilkin, Lead Creative and producer for BBC radio) and practise responding to briefs (Gavin from Perfect Storm).
The funniest comedians and presenters have actually spent a very long time preparing their content. So, not only should you be preparing for applications, interviews and meeting industry experts, you should be developing it as a skill. Paris Troy was the guest speaker who spoke most about this and to do so, said you should make sure your organisation, time management and planning s kills are
up to scratch. Finally, a number of speakers including Will Wilkin, BBC Talent Managers Gaynor, Sas and Helen, and Julian Burrett also said be prepared to keep trying, be prepared to develop resilience and be prepared to do anything!
Tell a story
It’s not just about creating ideas – although the ability to do so helps – it’s about standing out and standing up for who you are (Paris Troy and Laura from Speed Communications). When Will Wilkin was talking about the need to tell a story, especially in applications, he said that you should literally tell a story (see his LinkedIn profile for a
n example) and that everyday life is suitable content. Other tips included create an emotional connection (Gavin from Perfect Storm, Laura from Speed Communications) and don’t be generic (Paris). Alongside this, Julian Burrett said it’s good to be open to creativity from others too.
On one hand, you should be an expert in what you do (Julian Burrett) but on the other hand, you need to be versatile (Will Wilkin). You might be generating ideas for multiple platforms (a magazine with an accompanying app, writing cricket news but cutting film about a match too) but you might also be working in a specialist area within the sector. For example, Laura talked about how Speed cover three main divisions: business and corporate, sports and wellbeing, consumer and lifestyle. Similarly, Adriana from the IESA described how the art world, sitting within the creative industries, has sub-sectors which include the dealers, contemporary art, art fairs, insurance and law, investment and client services.
This is just an overview of the key themes but if you want more, check out our in-depth summary on mycareer. There’s a list of speakers on there too, as well as lots of information about the different areas of the media industry and creative sector.