Sophie Macpherson’s 10 tips to get ahead in the art world – ARTINFO UK

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.

Contemporary art recruitment guru Sophie Macpherson.

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.


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?


Related Topics: art jobs, lists, resources

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Sophie Macpherson’s 10 tips to get ahead in the art world – ARTINFO UK — 2 Comments

  1. We’re so happy you enjoy them, Travis! And thanks so much for your ongoing support of Art Radar. We frequently see you pop up on our Google analytics results for visits and link backs!

  2. Thanks so much for sharing these! All too often, those of us interested in traditional arts and culture, e.g. especially in the museum world, are left out by both the “art world” and by academia. But these ten tips seem just as relevant for me – not exclusively for those on the contemporary art / galleries & auction houses side of things. I shall endeavor to keep them in mind.

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