Art and design practitioners and specialists seeking to advance their careers can now do so through the Creative Industries online workshops, a collaboration between the Community and Continuing Education Program and the Alumni Relations Office of Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar (VCUarts Qatar) and the British Council in Qatar.

The workshops will offer practitioners expert insight into current global trends and industry diversification, while providing tips to sharpen individual personal statements and applications. The programme consists of two courses that are spread over three days each, with a two-hour masterclass scheduled for each day.

VCUarts Qatar 2

The first course, titled ‘Cultural Career Paths’ will offer participants guidance on how to write their personal statements to apply for grants (during normal times and during crises), and help them develop an understanding of the dynamics in the global art market.

The second course, ‘Turning your Design Practice into a Career’ will provide expert insight into the ways that artists can define who they are, and learn how to address their art across various platforms and formats.

Fifteen of the 20 seats in the workshops are reserved for VCUarts Qatar alumni, while the remaining five seats are open to other creatives such as regional artists, creative practitioners, curators, and art managers who are keen to enhance their art and design skills.

The programme will be led by Rose Lejeune, a London-based curator and researcher, in collaboration with VCUarts Qatar and the British Council.

Rose Lejeune
Rose Lejeune

Lejeune worked as a Curator at Art on the Underground, a public art platform on London’s underground public transport system and at the Serpentine Gallery in London. She holds a BA in Philosophy and Art History and an MA in Curating Contemporary Art from the Royal College of Art. She is currently a PhD candidate in Curating at Goldsmiths College, University of London, where her research focuses on curatorial frameworks for performance art in and out, of the art market. In addition to Lejeune, each two-hour masterclass (on both courses) will be led by renowned experts from the global art, design and culture scene.

Cultural Career Paths (9, 11, 12 August)

  • Oliver Basciano: London-based journalist who will help participants hone their personal statements in light of their individual specialisations.
  • Dani Burrows: freelance arts manager in Madrid who has worked with various organisations such as the Delfina Foundation, Active Cultures and May Calil Consultancy, and will offer tips on applying for international residencies in art and design.
  • Mary Cork: art market specialist in London, who will explain the nuances of the global art market, and how awareness of such trends are key to networking and establishing one’s own art business.

 Turning your Design Practice into a Career (16, 18, 19 August)

  • Anoushka Khandwala: London-based freelance graphic designer and faculty at Central St Martins and Camberwell College of Arts, who will discuss the need to diversify the design industry.
  • Manar Moursi: architect, designer, and founder of the Cairo-based interdisciplinary studio Studio Meem, who will highlight the use of design in developing story-telling narratives, especially in museum settings
  • Annette Welkamp: founding director of Culture Counsel, an organisation that provides services, and support and advice for museums, businesses, governments, art galleries, private clients, artists and academia internationally, including in the Middle East, Asia-Pacific and Europe.

Aisha AlKooheji, Program Manager for Community and Continuing Education at VCUarts Qatar, noted how such collaborations further VCUarts Qatar’s efforts to promote artists in the region through programmes that offer relevant, up-to-date information and mentoring by experts, in art and design.

She said that they recognise that continuing education is crucial for graduates and experts to stay abreast of evolving market trends, especially in the fields of art and design. She said that this was the key impetus behind their partnership with the British Council to launch the Creative Industries online workshops.

Given the circumstances in which artists and designers have had to adapt to the pandemic-induced scenario, we have carefully curated these masterclasses to give participants a realistic view of developing tendencies in art and design.

Instructors will also provide specific guidance on how to adapt individual applications and proposals, in the face of such shifting trends.

Lejeune added that there will be opportunities throughout the course to practice specific skills around, both creating one’s own, and making the most of existing trends and openings, as well as to hear the experiences and engage in conversation with the speakers who are specialists in their own fields.

The six sessions will provide participants with an exciting platform to understand the variety of career paths for designers and arts graduates from the perspective of professionals who are renowned for their respective repertoire of work, both in the UK and internationally.

The programme is free for VCUarts Qatar alumni, while other applicants can apply for a fee of QAR1500 each. For more details, visit qatar.vcu.edu