Ten must-know tips from the authority on jobs in the art world.
Art recruitment aficionado and self-made success story Sophie Macpherson knows how to get a job in the arts. After being told she had no future in the art world, she set off on her own to found the foremost art recruitment company in the world. Now she has shared her tips on how others can break into the art world.
Macpherson spoke with ARTINFO UK and shared ten tips for those looking to break into the art world. While some of her advice covers basic job hunting skills applicable to any industry, such as networking and interview preparation, curators and gallerists might be surprised by a few of the things that can put them ahead of the competition.
1. Build up a research portfolio
Almost any job in the art world is going to have an academic or research component, be it exhibition background and artist history or market analysis. Some employers might want to see evidence that job applicants have the art history know-how to back up their experience. Macpherson recommends that art professionals maintain an active portfolio of research projects and writings to have on hand for potential employers, even if it means using their off hours to work on these projects.
2. Social media
An effective social media strategy is crucial to any business. Galleries are using web platforms to reach out to new audiences and potential collectors, while museums and museum education programmes can use the internet to maximise public engagement. Employers might want proof that candidates are social media fluent. Macpherson’s advice?
Create a blog where you can publish your own research projects, talk about trips to galleries with photographs of your favourite pieces, post links to other sites of interest and your Twitter account. Showing you can be creative online will really help you move ahead.
3. Know the art calendar
The art landscape is in constant flux, and any art fair, auction or exhibition can provide key clues as to what is happening in the market and in contemporary artistic practice. Macpherson says that anyone seriously interested in getting involved in the art world needs to know these events by heart, ideally attending them in person, if not remotely through press coverage.
Macpherson’s seven other tips, which include the importance of languages and specific resume advice, are also good reading for any art professional, regardless of age or experience.
Of course, curators and gallerists are not the only ones who might need a leg up to get ahead in the current art climate. Practising artists should head over to The Guardian to read their article, “Life After University – 14 career tips for arts graduates“, from July 2012.
Art Radar has a number of resources for those looking to up-skill, or gain employment or experience.
- Visit our Learning page: our unique art writing course guarantees publication!
- Visit our Opportunities page: a round-up of the most exciting jobs, courses, placements and internships in the art world.
- Visit our Asian Art Events page: a comprehensive listing of all art happenings across the region in a year.
Do you have experience working in the art world? What tips would you add to this list, for recent graduates or those entering the job market later in life?
- Holiday art gifts: Best in 2012 contemporary art books – December 2012 – Macpherson also recommends reading voraciously, so check out our top picks from 2012’s Asian contemporary art book selection
- Blogger to produce ultimate Middle East art guide – resource alert – November 2012 – Want to stay on top of all Middle Eastern art events?
- 5 Chinese social networks the art trade needs to watch – resource alert – September 2012 – Chinese art professionals should have a look at these rising networking sites
- Bravo’s Gallery Girls brings reality TV to New York City art scene – August 2012 – depicts young professionals struggling to get ahead in the New York city art world
- Tune in to Art International Radio for 30+ talks on Asian contemporary art – May 2011 – a great way to keep abreast of the contemporary art scene in Asia and beyond
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