The IST and Technicians in the Arts

The purpose of this item is to encourage a discussion that will explore issues relevant to Technicians in the Arts and the IST.

The Arts Contribution to UK Economic Recovery

  1. The creative industries, identified by the Work Foundation as one of four sectors with greatest potential to support economic recovery, have a central role to play in our future economic success, and were recognised by the chancellor as, ‘a key part of the new economy we are seeking to build’
  2. This is one of the areas in which the UK can rightly claim to be world-leading. Over a million people work in the UK’s creative industries, with a further 800,000 employed in creative occupations in businesses outside the creative sector
  3. The sector accounts for more than seven per cent of UK GDP and has shown consistent, above-average growth for more than a decade. It is also proportionately larger than any creative sector in Europe (the creative industries account for 2.6 per cent of EU GDP4) and consistently punches above its weight in global markets.
  4. Evidence also demonstrates the extent of higher education’s engagement with the creative economy.  All kinds of universities are involved, from the specialist institutions in creative and performing arts to multidisciplinary, research-intensive universities. Eighty-one per cent of the universities in England have identified the creative industries as a target sector for external engagement – the next highest was energy, identified by 36 per cent.5

Technology and Arts Technicians

  1. They practice a range of technical methods on a par with those that technicians use in STEM subject areas.  The technology might be different, but the skills are comparable.
  2. Examples encompass: pattern cutting, kilns, ceramics equipment, soldering, welding, mechanical workshop machinery, printing, silk screen techniques, advanced photographic equipment, digital weaving, film making, CADCAM, analytical equipment and techniques:
    Installation, testing & calibration, maintenance scheduling and procedures, programme design, art action simulation and analysis
  3. This is applied to diagnostic decision making about the execution of work, the delivery of high standards of practice, supporting appropriate and specialist learning environments, delivering inductions, demonstrations & technical workshops where students learn about processes, techniques, use of equipment & machinery.

The IST and Arts Technicians Working Together

Quality assurance that will increasingly apply in the post Browne Review era is embedded in the Arts.  Supporting this for technical staff is a core function of the IST.

The IST is firmly committed to developing support and professional recognition for technicians, specialists and managers operating in creative arts disciplines.

For this to work a two way commitment between technicians in the Arts and the IST should be established and developed and if you feel you can contribute to this development we would welcome your input.