Building Visual Artists’ Resilience Capabilities: Current Educator Strategies and Methods


  • Eileen Maree Siddins College of Arts, Society and Education James Cook University
  • Ryan Daniel College of Arts, Society and Education James Cook University
  • Robert Johnstone College of Arts, Society and Education James Cook University



Artists, creative industries, professional wellbeing, resilience, visual arts.


Enrolments in higher education programs in the creative and performing arts are increasing in many countries. Yet graduates of these degrees, who enter the broad sector known as the creative industries, face particular challenges in terms of securing long-term and sustainable employment. In addition, creative and performing artists face a range of mental challenges, caused by such factors as: the solitary nature of much creative practice, critical feedback by audiences and gatekeepers, or the general pressures associated with maintaining artistic relevance or integrity. The concepts of resilience and professional wellbeing are therefore highly relevant to those who pursue a career in creative industries, and while there has been an emerging body of work in this area, to date it has focussed on the performing arts area (e.g. music, theatre). Hence, in order to expand knowledge relevant to resilience and artists, this paper sets out to explore the extent to which current educators in the Australian context specifically address these issues within higher visual arts curricula; specifically the areas of illustration, design, film and photography. This was achieved via interviews with seventeen current academics working in these areas. The findings propose that higher education providers of programs in the visual arts consider placing a stronger emphasis on the embedded development of resilience and professional wellbeing capacities.

Author Biographies

  • Eileen Maree Siddins, College of Arts, Society and Education James Cook University
    Eileen Siddins is a design lecturer who will shortly begin her PhD at James Cook University.
  • Ryan Daniel, College of Arts, Society and Education James Cook University
    Professor Ryan Daniel is a senior researcher in creative arts and creative industries at James Cook University, Australia. His research is published in Creative Industries, International Journal of Cultural Policy, Arts and Humanities in Higher Education, CoDesign, Music Education Research and the British Journal of Music Education.
  • Robert Johnstone, College of Arts, Society and Education James Cook University
    Robert Johnstone is a sound artist and PhD student at James Cook University where he was the William Williams scholar. His research is published in Knowledge Cultures, Studies in Higher Education, Etropic and Family Matters.


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