Making a Living from the Arts

The world of work is changing in all fields including the arts. The demand for constant reskilling and life-long learning, the growing flexibility required in career development and the interdisciplinarity approach are becoming major themes for the future development of higher education.

With the societal challenges and the pressures of globalization, it becomes increasingly important for artists to strengthen their position in society. For arts educators, the challenges are to meet the needs of future artists and to signify the impact of the arts in communities. As a platform for knowledge sharing, Making a Living from the Arts gives the stage to models and practices in the field of cultural entrepreneurship inside and outside higher arts education.

Investors, hub managers and entrepreneurship experts give insights on successful (or not successful) practices and models. Examples of artists’ creative solutions to societal issues and models of institutional structures both inside and outside higher arts education institutions are showcased.

The conference begins by challenging values, beliefs and myths around the word ‘entrepreneurship’, stimulating a critical debate on different discourses and the misconceptions around Entrepreneurship and the arts. Bringing examples of innovative practices, the NXT Conference aims to reclaim the entrepreneurial field as applicable to artists and arts practitioners with a common and understandable terminology associated with it.

More in-depth, the following topics are at the core of the discourse:

Approaching entrepreneurship in higher arts education

If entrepreneurship is understood as a tool to empower young artist’s sense of independency, what are then the skills and knowledge that art students need? In this rapidly changing field – funding structure, artist identity and traditional disciplines – higher arts institutions are challenged to reconsider what are the relevant and effective educational models to meet the needs of the artists of the future.

Entrepreneurial initiatives: new models of education?

Creatives as the source of innovative solutions are already contributing to develop new business and educational models, which are originated by their needs. Is the development of the creative industries an alternative or the confirmation of the neo-liberal market? Examples of creative centres showcase how non-institutional organisations create and transfer knowledge, stimulate and support artistic practices.

Social impact and social innovation

Examples of innovative practices are showcased to stimulate a debate on how arts educators and cultural practitioners can translate the intangible benefits of the arts in society into the language of policy makers, civil servants and politicians. How can the arts and culture world provide alternative ways of looking at impact, and change the discourse of the tangible-benefits, evidence-based decision-making?

Expanded Professionalism in the Arts

The role of professional development in the arts is to equip artists with skills, knowledge and confidence in order for them to play an active role in society and earn a living form their artistic practice. Using their professionalism at the interface between the arts and other fields. Models of expanded professionalism in the arts are presented to stimulate a discussion on the needs of the artists of the future and the role of arts educators.

Creative responses to labour struggles

Looking at the material conditions and labour struggles facing artists today in contemporary practice and the innovative initiatives that are emerging to respond to them. The examples presented stimulate a critical debate on models of sustainable practices and the impact of public funding and policy making. Delegates discuss the conditions to reframe the arts’ world value system the relation between artists and the institution/enterprises that contact them.

During two days, ELIA will organise the NXT conference and offer a variety of presentations and discussions on selected topics. Keynote speakers will address the values, beliefs and myths of entrepreneurship and the arts. In addition to this, different entrepreneurial initiatives and involvement of entrepreneurship in higher arts education will be highlighted. During the parallel sessions the delegates will have the opportunity to discuss selected topics in small groups and therefore be interactively involved in the topic.

find more on the programme and how to attend the conference here:




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