Academy and the real world: Developing realistic notions of career in the performing arts

Dawn Bennett*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

103 Citations (Scopus)


Performing arts courses within the university sector retain a necessarily strong practical focus as they prepare graduates for work within a highly competitive environment. However, the reality for graduates is a world in which performance is only one component of the myriad activities required to build a sustainable career. This article reports findings from two studies which investigated work patterns, education and professional development of practising and intending musicians and dance artists. Data gathered using a questionnaire, focus groups and interviews reveal disparity between undergraduate curricula, the career expectations of students and the realities of professional practice. Alignment between the results of the music and dance studies suggests the potential for the collaborative delivery of both initial and lifelong education. The findings are discussed within the context of protean careers, and the article advocates the potential for practising artist academics to engage students in career development and the formation of their professional identities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-327
Number of pages19
JournalArts and Humanities in Higher Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2009
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Academy and the real world: Developing realistic notions of career in the performing arts'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this