by Anna Ochmann

Apprenticeships, internships and other various forms of work-based learning enable the acquisition of specific professional competences and skills and they have always been an important part of education in the artistic and creative professions – even if they were sometimes underestimated. This way of developing vocational skills is especially important in the world in which new technologies and digital communication have completely changed the ways of creating, producing or disseminating works of culture. They also provided innovative tools for personal reinterpretation and accessing culture. On the other hand globalization enables artists and creators to reach an unimaginable number of people!

All these changes have had a significant impact on the labour market today. The disappearance and emergence of new professions is a fact. Experts from the University of Oxford estimate that by 2030 47% of currently existing professions will have disappeared! Scientists from Yale and Oxford also indicate that robots and artificial intelligence will replace people in all professions and industries by 2136 at the latest… Maybe this sounds a little futuristic, but for artists and representatives of the creative sector the good news is that they are mentioned as one of the best “future” professions, because they are only slightly threatened by automation and digitalization! Artistic and creative work is based on competences and skills that are difficult to change into algorithms. These include, above all, originality and creativity, social intelligence, as well as ingenuity, the ability to act in a non-routine manner and to create new ideas.

A very interesting report, “Employee of the Future”, prepared by the Infuture Hatalska Foresight Institute was published in 2019. In this report experts and specialists identified 32 factors of change that will have a significant impact on both employees and the labour market in the future. These factors are grouped according to STEEP (social, technological, environmental, economic, political) methodology and their mutual influence is analysed. On the basis of this  5 scenarios for the future are created.

The first scenario, entitled “Jobs are for robots”, assumes that automation and artificial intelligence will in future be so developed, that nearly all tasks and work will be performed by robots. In addition, the automation of work will cause large numbers of people to lose their jobs irretrievably. However this situation will place a new value on handiwork and craftsmanship, and small manufacturers will be better appreciated and more valued.

The second scenario entitled the “Hollywood work model” indicates first a reduction in the number of people working full time in stable and long-term work for one employer and secondly shows that freelancers, small companies and specialists, who have appropriate competences will have to join together in larger teams. They will work on task related contracts for limited periods of time. New technologies will help them to find each other and in their cooperation.

The next, third scenario entitled “Always under control” foresees automation of work except for a small number of experts and highly-specialized employees, but also it means that as most work will be done on the web and most data will be stored in “clouds” the threat of cyber attacks will increase.

The fourth scenario called “Special workers for planet and nature” is extremely interesting. Climate change and limited resources will force companies and employees to change their priorities. Key values for companies and employees, which will give them competitive advantage, will be the ability to use natural resources innovatively and effectively.

The last, fifth scenario is “Eternal worker”. This scenario predicts that we will have to work until we are very old (or, in the fact, to the end of our lives) and this means we need to change  what we do many times.

Each of the visions of the future in this report is expanded with predictions for new professions that may appear in the coming years, and it also includes lists of the competences that employees of the future will need. It is very interesting that almost all of these competences listed are typical of artists and creatives even today! They include creativity, design thinking, cooperation skills, critical thinking, problem-solving or active learning.

It seems that the Covid-19 pandemic has only accelerated the implementation of (at least) some of the elements included in these scenarios… Obviously the situation is very different in various contexts and some of these scenarios are already happening.

For many years the ARTeria Foundation has been organising activities for artists and creatives and preparing projects such as Learn2Create. We use our previous experience from our work in Poland and internationally and we use the experiences of our partners. We inspire ourselves with the best solutions trying to adapt them to the situation in Poland and to the dreams of young people: musicians, painters, craftsmen, designers, filmmakers and photographers…

By working with people who dream about developing their artistic passions in the creative industries and in the cultural sector, we often ask ourselves – what will artists need in the future? How can we develop their competences and professional skills to meet the challenges of the future? What skills do vocational teachers and trainers need to help these young people in their education?

We don’t know what the art world will look like in 30, 40 or 50 years. We don’t know what directions and trends will dominate. We don’t know how art will change under the influence of new technologies. Thanks to widespread availability access to art has been democratized and artists’ works may have global reach. We can buy works of art through internet portals or visit niche galleries without leaving home. And this will increase. It seems that analysis of forecasts for the art world could be extremely interesting in discussions about the future of the creative and cultural sectors and in consideration of educational needs.

Some of these forecasts seem worth mentioning – two of the most interesting are ‘dematerialism’ and ‘deep game storytelling’. The first, which is already an increasingly popular trend today is when experience is more important than the product itself. Already today, multimedia art installations are a response to this need, and impressions and feelings have become more important for the audience than the objects themselves. “Traditional” forms such as painting or sculpture will in the future be the privilege of rather an elite group of people, such as connoisseurs and critics.

The second trend which is important from the point of view of art in the future is “deep game storytelling’ – the possibility of experiencing plots and stories in the role of the hero, which – through the use of new technologies – will enable artists to engage audiences to actively participate or even co-create a work of art.

When wondering how we can support vocational teachers and trainers in artistic and creative sectors it is worth thinking ahead today about the competences that their students will need in the future.