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Creative careers

Build up your contacts and work experience through placements and live projects. Take advantage of opportunities to network with creative professionals. Get inspired by our graduates and consider your own creative career.

We focus a great deal of time and attention on developing and supporting your employability.

Many of your lecturers are practitioners, bringing their industry insights into classroom. You'll keep up to date with the latest trends and skills through their expertise, and meet influential industry-leaders through their network.

You'll also learn from an exciting range of guest speakers and visiting professors. Recent guest speakers include Alec Maxwell, Digital Creative Director at British Vogue, and Craig Mitchell, a maker of ceramic figures (pictured). There's also our Creative Lives programme, a series of talks delivered by creative professionals who live, work and thrive in the arts and creative industries. Through these talks, you'll gain an insight into the creative process and career routes of regional and nationally renowned practitioners at different career stages.

Placements and work experience

All our undergraduate Art and Design courses offer a placement or live project, providing you with real-life opportunities to experience the creative industries during your studies.

As well as being beneficial for personal career development, placements and projects can lead to all sorts of exciting outcomes. While on placement at Breeze Creatives, Fashion Design and Promotion student, Eve Howarth (pictured), got the chance to curate and plan an exhibition, showcasing denim garments. Read more about Eve's story.

Sunderland Creatives Agency

You could also get involved with projects for real clients through our Sunderland Creatives agency. The agency combines the skills and talents of students with the expertise of Sunderland-based creative agency, Creo Comms, to support local businesses, entrepreneurs and charities with brand development. You could get involved with projects including graphic design, photography, illustration, video and animation, and much more.

Robson Creative Internship Award

The Robson Creative Internship Award is an opportunity that provides real-world, paid project experience for Art and Design students in the second and third year of their undergraduate degree. You are required to apply for and complete a specific 100-hour creative project, paid in line with minimum wage.

Through the Internship Award, Erica Donnelly, who studied BA (Hons) Illustration and Design, worked on a project with The National Trust at Souter Lighthouse and The Leas to raise public awareness of the coast as an ever-changing environment. She met with National Trust staff at the lighthouse before going on to design an interpretation panel explaining the process of erosion on the local coastline. Visitors can find the panel next to the England Coast Path on The Leas, just north of Souter Lighthouse.

Read more about Erica's story.

Exhibition opportunities

You’ll also get first-hand experience of exhibiting your work throughout your studies, culminating in the end of year Degree Shows in your final year. Not only do exhibitions provide you with an opportunity to showcase your work, but they also enable you to develop an understanding of how to fund and secure exhibition spaces, curating and how to critically select work to show a public audience.

The University recently opened the Sunderland Creatives Gallery which is located at National Glass Centre. The new gallery is a fantastic resource, offering you the opportunity to further develop your exhibition skills in a professional, public-facing gallery.

The gallery’s first exhibition featured work by graduates from the years 2020 and 2021, such as Iona Stock (pictured) who graduated in 2020 from BA (Hons) Artist Designer Maker: Glass and Ceramics. She says, “It’s a great space to have open to the students and will definitely be used to its full potential.”

Read more about the Sunderland Creatives Gallery.

Graduate destinations

Get career inspiration from our Art and Design graduates: