A Future Curriculum


Art education does not teach us to be ready to work as artists. It does not teach us very practical and simple things we must know to be able to work. Art students do not get enough support or learn how to make money with their art. It is still a taboo. This should change.

Why does the existing art education system inadequately prepare students for the challenges of living as an artist after graduation? Why do students graduate with very little of the necessary knowledge to begin working professionally as artists? Why is money taboo in arts education and why is it addressed only in the last months of a 3-5 year process? Why is fair practice not talked about more? Why do we learn to challenge contemporary discourses with our art practices all the while never being invited to fight for better working conditions? Why do we so easily accept the reality that out of our graduating class, only a handful of us will manage to create a living with artistic work?

We are OOC (Out of Order Contemplations), a group of master students from Autonomous Design in 2020 at Kask & Conservatorium. We ask ourselves these questions. We ask you readers these questions, but mostly, we ask you administrators and teachers in art education: Why are we missing all this knowledge?

In the spring of 2020, we were lucky that our teachers heard our urgent questions and designed a master class with support from Kobe Matthys of SOTA (State Of The Arts) to help us understand what we were missing in our education and imagine a new class – a whole curriculum – aimed at preparing students to construct a sustainable and rewarding professional creative life.

We imagined, and we realised that what we miss falls into three categories: How to make money? How to foster political agency? How to create an art field as an ecology of support?

How to make money?

From learning how to price our work, make contracts, negotiate with galleries, and learning fair practice to finding out if we should set up a business or work towards the artist status, we want to address the financial realities of our field. We want to lift the taboo, break the unwritten rule and begin talking with each other about money: how to deal with it, how to find alternatives when it’s missing, how to handle the emotional weight of it. We want to gain skills to reshape our relationship to money without selling our souls, and we want to hear stories, experiences of artists who have been successful at striking the balance of financial stability without compromising their work.

How to foster political agency?

We count on schools to feed our fire and our youthful dreams, and create an environment where we can imagine a better future. What we miss is the space and opportunity to reflect on and critique economic systems present in the diverse fields of art, policies and legislation that are in place, and the history of the government’s engagement in the arts. We want to discuss questions such as, Are we part of systems that support all artists? Are we part of systems that allow us to work sustainably? Are the arts funded properly? We want to discuss the dissonance between the number of graduating art students each year and the scarcity of money in the arts. Once this critique is activated in our minds and bodies, we want to learn tools for organising politically, so we can understand the ways we can protest and begin to apprehend the long term struggle towards political and structural change. Our voices need to be heard and we want to learn how to make them count in political debates.

How to create an art field as an ecology of support?

Can we imagine a day where students graduate without the fear of falling into the gap between school and the art field? Can we imagine that day, where anxieties of loneliness meet the trust of entering into a community of artists? We want to begin at school to build an artistic community based on solidarity, on care, on peer support, and we want to practice commoning resources.