An investigation into art and design graduate careers: towards developing a career progression tool.
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The aim of this research was to develop a comprehensive body of research about the careers of art and design graduates, and to utilise the findings in the development of a concept multimedia 'career progression tool'. A critical contextual review of key research highlighted a lack of data about 'actual' art and design graduate careers. Existing research suggests that the models of practice promoted within art and design courses are based predominantly upon suppositions, which are out dated and unrealistic. A 'naturalistic' methodology was developed in which the researcher conducted a quantitative longitudinal survey and case studies, using his prior experiences as a practitioner to promote an 'empathetic' approach. A questionnaire survey was used to discover the perceptions of recent design graduates about future careers. These findings were used as contextual information in the development of a case study strategy, which revealed primary accounts of personal experiences about higher education and subsequent career progression for art and design graduates. Analysis of the data identified the occupational realities experienced by graduates trying to develop specialist careers. These included 'being lost' following graduation, initial career failure due to limited business and sector knowledge and the relevance of technology to contemporary practice. A 'career progression tool' concept was developed as a possible way to disseminate the research findings. An evaluation ofthis tool by selected students, staff and a careers advisor from the Robert Gordon University highlighted its usefulness as a strategy for disseminating bespoke careers information based on graduates' real experiences.