Throughout this week, my students in the KKB018 Creative Industries unit are exhibiting their project proposal posters. KKB018 is a core unit in the Creative Industries Faculty, and for many of them is the first unit which introduces them to the core concepts in creative industries theory and practice, which is always something of a challenge - especially considering that students in the unit come from all disciplines across the Faculty: there are dancers and journalists, writers and communication designers, actors and musicians, fashion designers and filmmakers. So, one key aspect of the unit is also to encourage interdisciplinary approaches, of course.
I developed the unit in 2001, as the first of its kind in the world, and I've run it ever since (and for the last time this semester). Developing the content structure itself was relatively straightforward: there's a good deal of core theory which quite clearly needs to be covered. What was more difficult was to come up with an effective, authentic, and interesting assessment structure that went beyond the standard (and boring) 'regurgitate theory by writing an academic essay' model. Last year, I think I finally cracked that challenge: I worked out that beyond all disciplinary knowledge, amongst the core skills our students will need to acquire is the ability to develop, propose, and critically assess project ideas. Whether pitching a story idea to an editor or producer, proposing a creative project to a funding agency, applying for funding for a research project, or presenting a new product to the company board, what they will have to do in their future careers as creative practitioners is to come up with that great idea, present it effectively, and demonstrate that it would be appropriate both for the organisation they're proposing it to, and for the local, national, and global environment within which they're operating. And if they're not developing new projects themselves, then chances are they're probably working for the organisation, assessing projects which other creative practitioners have proposed.