Report examines entrepreneurial support for arts & humanities students


18.11.2019

The University of Wales Trinity Saint David is delighted to share the full research report from the first phase of the Arts and Humanities Entrepreneurship Hubs (AHEH) project, which is a 3-year initiative co-funded by the European Union under the Erasmus+ programme.

Swansea College of Art Students take part in a AHEH workshop

Swansea College of Art students take part in AHEH Entrepreneurship workshops

The project brings together a partnership of 14 organisations from 7 European countries from academia and business to jointly research, design, test and disseminate a programme of entrepreneurial training for Arts and Humanities staff and students.

The fundamental project goal is to improve the long-term prospects of graduates and to equip them with the tools and confidence they need to succeed and the entrepreneurship outcomes could be social, cultural or commercial.

The project will lead to the development of 7 new Entrepreneurship Hubs within partner Universities to fully embed entrepreneurship within Arts and Humanities education.

“Gaining first-hand insights from arts and humanities students about the kind of skills and support they want HEIs to provide them with in preparation for life after graduation has been revealing”, said Dr Shelley Doolan, Senior Research Fellow at UWTSD and AHEH Project Co-ordinator.

“There is a growing demand from students in the arts and humanities for an education beyond subject-specific boundaries that will boost their ability to sustain their choice of profession and practice”.

Adam West from Coastal Housing said:  “Coastal has long been involved in regeneration projects and one of the methods of regenerating areas in which Coastal has a presence is to support local and start-up businesses by providing them reduced rents and favourable tenancies. In this way, Coastal has long been involved in supporting the entrepreneurial base in south Wales. Being involved in the AHEH project has raised Coastal’s profile and credibility as an organisation which supports new and local businesses, as well as giving Coastal a greater understanding of the needs of and issues facing nascent businesses. Coastal has been given the opportunity to reflect upon its role in supporting locally-based entrepreneurs and consider how it can better do so in future”.

The research took a multi-method approach to researching the current state of play across Europe regarding the actual provision, the perceived provision and efficacy of entrepreneurial education and support for the arts and humanities. The report outlines the analysis and conclusions from this body of research. The findings, in terms of the perceived skills gaps in the current provision, as well as examples of good practice have informed the development of the AHEH training programme.

Small group workshops explore entrepreneurship

Small groups of students work together in the Arts and Humanities Enterpreneurship Hubs (AHEH) workshops

Outi Raatikainen, of Pink Eminence, a creative consultancy in Finland and an AHEH partner said: “It is obvious that in an international Europe where Arts and Humanities students and graduates move all over, it is essential to be able to recognise the possibilities to develop the entrepreneurial skills and networks needed and provided. The first AHEH report already shows how different approaches to education/skills exist in Europe and what type of further development is needed. It is clear that this project already has given new insight, network and event information to all participants to further develop their own work. The project pilot is also a source of useful information to all participants.”

Fátima São Simão, Development Director for the Arts, UPTEC in Portugal added “UPTEC has benefitted from the shared knowledge and experience exchanged at AHEH, not only in the actual development of the work packages (which have also inspired some of our internal programmes directly, namely a recent proposal we presented to a major company in Portugal) but also through the information about local initiatives and practices and other opportunities to our communities”.

The partnership welcomes the opportunity to broaden its network and invites others to get in touch to see how they might collaborate.

To find out more about the project, please do visit our website and sign up for updates https://www.artshumanitieshub.eu/

Further information:  Dr Shelley Doolan – shelley.doolan@uwtsd.ac.uk