Due to the severity of cuts in education, the area of professional development has been reduced and now relies on voluntary presentations from organisations such as Visual Artists Ireland. Preparing students for a life as an artist is lacking. This lack of knowledge about self-employment and available support structures must be addressed quickly and urgently in a manner that equips each student with a full understanding of their future professional careers. In addition, there is a need to prepare students for the competitive aspect of their career. Visual Artists Ireland runs events that increase artists’ knowledge in a wide range of other activities such as getting their work seen, preparing proposals, and working on commissions etc. It is an important role and one that we feel needs to be more formalised with colleges to allow students to participate freely.
We are now operating this through our own resources and those of our partner organisations. But the college system needs to find a way to recognise this and to implement strategies of collaboration with the arts sector. An example of this is the proposed joint professional development programme that we are currently undertaking with Limerick College of Art & Design. The purpose of this is to allow artist to actively participate in professional development. These are being developed so that they can also be seen as part of a career development (accredited) programme.
- The creation of a centralised further education programme for organisations to contribute to through their own programmes of professional development. This will identify the key areas to be addressed in a structured manner, repetition of effort to be removed, and allow for a flexible model for professional development and further education.
- Colleges to ensure that they are delivering quality professional development programmes, either internally or through the services of Visual Artists Ireland.