A unique master's degree focused on preparing students to work in one of the most dynamic global industries is being launched by Leicester Castle Business School.
The new Business Management and the Creative Industries MSc provides multiple pathways for students, either from creative or business backgrounds, with aspirations to work as an entrepreneur or in a large organisation.
Zachary Duncan-Johal with his colourful 3-D structure
Creative artists and designers who hope to start their own business will be supported through the programme and have the opportunity to prepare a full business plan under the guidance of a mentor and an academic.
The degree will also give students with a business background the skills needed to work with creative talent and lead creative organisations.
Professor Dana Brown, Principal of the business school, says the course was created to tap into the many opportunities offered in this billion pound industry, which includes arts, design, gaming and media.
Setting the MSc apart is its sensitivity to creative energies, interdisciplinary expertise, emphasis on hands-on learning and valuable industry links.
Professor Brown said: "One in 11 of all UK jobs falls within the creative economy, according to Government figures.
"This is a multi-billion pound industry offering a host of career opportunities all over the world for those with the right skills and experience.
"We have created a programme that is truly interdisciplinary, having been developed by Leicester Castle Business School in conjunction with the Faculty of Art, Design and Humanities and the Faculty of Technology at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU). It is a unique endeavour."
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Professor Brown said a crucial element is understanding that the management of creative businesses, be it an arts gallery or game software company, is different from the average organisation.
She said: "Creativity and what follows, innovation, are thought to be key to survival in the age of hyper-competitiveness.
"We know the creative mind has certain unique properties, so our business education needs to take a leap to making the practice of creative thinking a normal mode of learning. This means giving more space for practice, for failure, and for collaboration."
The course offers an alternative path for those with an artistic talent.
"Gaming graduates might want to do something beyond just designing. Musicians might want to run a music festival, which they will need business skills to do," added Professor Brown, who has worked as a professor and leader in business schools across the world.
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Students will be based in the Grade I-listed Great Hall of Leicester Castle after a programme of refurbishment work, which started last month, is complete. They'll also benefit from studying in a city that boasts the second largest cluster of creative businesses outside London.
Modules will help students achieve specific career goals, for example those wanting to be a digital design entrepreneur can leave with a business plan in hand.
Students can choose between an in-company project, social internship and a dissertation, depending on whether they would prefer to develop their practical skills or theoretical understanding. A social internship in the hill tribes of Northern Thailand is among the opportunities lined up.
DMU's Professor Ernest Edmonds, who is designing an interactive artwork for Leicester Castle, believes the MSc will appeal to a broad collection of people.
The Professor of Computational Art said: "Students are likely to be from very different backgrounds, which in itself will provide an exciting creative environment."
Students will also benefit from the university's links with Leicester's Curve Theatre, the British Library, Arts Council England, Ambassador Theatre Group and Leicester Comedy Festival, which was founded by Geoff Rowe while a student at DMU.
Jennie Jordan, Senior Lecturer in Creative Industries, said: "I'm so excited to be joining Leicester Castle Business School. It is bringing together the most up-to-date thinking about how businesses can harness and develop creativity with innovative teaching practices that will enable our students to learn how to adapt and thrive in the rapidly changing world of work they will build their careers in."
Posted on Thursday 7th July 2016