Universities that stand at the forefront of the emerging creative economy

Increasingly, governments across the globe are starting to recognise the intrinsic value of the Arts and the broader significance the creative industries can have on a country’s standing in the world, as well as their economy.

In a time of rapid globalisation, the combination of culture and commerce that the creative industries represent act as a powerful way of providing a distinctive image of a country or a city, helping it to stand out from its competitors.

In recognition of this benefit, the creative economy is currently experiencing a boom with governments the world over looking at them as a longstanding investment with potentially significant returns.

In the UK alone, the government has developed a strategy to double creative industry service exports by 2020 to £31 billion (US$40 billion). The creative industries have been the fastest growing sector of the economy for almost a decade. They also contribute almost £90 billion (US$120 billion) net to GDP and account for one in 11 jobs, a rate rising more quickly than all other parts of the economy. And these jobs are also among the least likely to be lost to automation.

Universities are a major driving force in this progression, acting as creative incubators for the talents of the future. In such a dynamic and rapidly-evolving sector, universities need to stay relevant and at the cutting edge of this ascendant wave of progress.

Here are 5 universities at the forefront of the emerging creative economy…


There are not many places around the world where you can find what the British Art School became famous for, but at the Cambridge School of Visual and Performing Arts (CSVPA) there is an atelier style approach to teaching and learning that is tailored to the individual and a sense of creative freedom.

Each individual student is placed at the centre of their learning experience. If sitting in large classes and blending into the crowd is what you want out of university, then this place certainly isn’t right for you. Faculty take the time to learn your interests, passions and the desired direction for your creative ambitions, and work with you closely to make them a reality. The small class sizes and this intimate approach make learning at CSVPA a hands-on experience unlike other art colleges.

And it is not just any educators with whom you will be working. CSVPA counts among its faculty London world leading fashion designers, working actors and exhibiting artists. These are people who are top of their fields and still very much in tune with the industries you want to enter. Their relevant and contemporary knowledge and advice will prove priceless when it comes to your own future ventures into the workplace.

The school offers top-notch undergraduate and postgraduate courses across a range of subject areas, including Art & Design, Fashion and Graphics & Illustration. The fantastic teaching, paired with CSVPA’s bespoke approach to learning, make these courses a perfect springboard into the creative economy.


Stamps at the University of Michigan is home to one of the most open interdisciplinary Art and Design programmes in the United States. Almost 15 years ago, the school was one of the first art and design schools in the world to institute a curriculum of self-directed study, emphasising both conceptual and technical skill building and allowing students to move freely among media.

As the industry continues to evolve, Stamps continues to redefine both undergraduate and graduate programmes in the creative arts.

The school recognises the international nature of today’s modern world and, more importantly, workplace. To ensure students understand their role in this globalised economy, all Stamps students undertake an international experience that prepares them to enter the international economy, makes them more competitive in further study and the job market, and expands the scope and reach of their work.


While Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) may have started in Georgia, it does, in fact, offer degrees in Atlanta, Savannah and Hong Kong, all under the SCAD umbrella. They also provide online courses via eLearning, and additional study abroad opportunities in Lacoste, France and other locations.

This impressive worldwide set-up means students get the incredible opportunity to choose to study in any location at any quarter during their education. This means you can start your studies in the great state of Georgia and end it in the alleyways of Hong Kong, or finding your muse in France.

The college offers more degree programmes and specialisations than any other art and design university in the United States, making it uniquely qualified to prepare talented students for professional, creative careers.

SCAD is also home to an award-winning faculty of more than 650 professors, each with a valuable network of professional connections. Their boundless real-world experience enables them to skilfully prepare you to excel in your own creative ventures.


The School of Arts and Cultures at Newcastle University offers both the classics, in Fine Art, and contemporary programmes in Media, Culture, and Heritage. They also have a world leading Music department

With a strong history in teaching the arts, Newcastle continues to be at the cutting edge of the industry with the help of the internationally-renowned researchers who run the courses, as well as the world-class facilities in this Russell Group university.

Art and Design at Newcastle ranks first in The Complete University Guide 2017 ahead of Oxford and University College London, so you know you are getting quality.

As well as covering classic art, the school likes to make its curriculum socially relevant, engaging with public policy concerns and contemporary debates in cultural and social politics.


California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) is renowned internationally as a game-changer in the education of professional artists.

Ranked as America’s top college for students in the arts by Newsweek, the school has set the pace for educating professional artists since 1970. It embraces experimentation as a form of learning and progressing the craft of visual and performance arts, instilling in its students the confidence and sound academic knowhow to chart their own path and push boundaries.

Offering more than 70 comprehensive degree programmes in the creative arts, the institute is split into six schools covering ArtCritical StudiesDanceFilm and VideoMusic and Theatre.

As an extension of the pioneering ethos, students are highly encouraged to collaborate with one another across disciplines and to investigate hybrid art forms – not only within each school, but also throughout all of CalArts. This accumulation of varying expertise provides an invaluable foundation on which students can build an independent practice and expand upon the boundaries of artmaking.

*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International

Liked this? Then you’ll love these…

Creative Cities: 5 Schools that thrive in Artistic education

Creative cities: The best places to study art and design