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Visual Arts, Crafts and Design

Overview

This page provides information and data on the Visual Arts, Crafts and Design sector, which is one component of the Arts, Culture, Entertainment and Design industry, and includes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural arts, product and graphic design, photography, ceramics and opal cutting and polishing.

The Visual Arts, Crafts and Design sector is made up of non-performing artists who create standalone artistic products, alongside those in graphic, product, interior or industrial design and illustration.

The Visual Arts, Crafts and Design workforce are often sole operators and contractors. However, those in design may be employed by design companies or organisations with in-house design services, but many of these workers also operate as freelance contractors.

Nationally recognised training for the Visual Arts, Crafts and Design sector is delivered under the CUA - Creative Arts and Culture Training Package.

For information on graphic arts, see Printing and Graphic Arts.

Information sourced from the Culture and Related Industries IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast.

All data sources are available at the end of the page.

IRC and Skills Forecasts

Employment trends

Employment snapshot

As detailed employment information is unavailable for the Visual Arts, Crafts and Design sector, the occupation ‘Visual Arts and Crafts Professionals’ has been used to gain insights into relevant employment trends. Although the employment level for Visual Arts and Crafts Professionals has fallen overall between 2000 and 2019, the last few years have seen a gradual increase in employment levels, at approximately 10,900 in 2019. Employment for this occupation is predicted to continue this gradual rise between 2019 and 2024 to around 12,200.

See the Arts, Culture, Entertainment and Design cluster page for further employment insights.

Training trends

Training snapshot

Program enrolments and completions in Visual Arts, Crafts and Design-related qualifications trended down between 2015 and 2018, with around 29,270 enrolments and 9,150 completions recorded in 2015, while in 2018 there were roughly 23,080 enrolments and 7,940 completions.

Enrolments were distributed across the different qualification levels, occurring at certificate II (29%), certificate III (26%), diploma or higher (21%) and certificate IV (20%) levels. More than half (52%) of these program enrolments were recorded for a Visual Arts qualification, and 22% were within Design and Creative Content Development (22%). Enrolments in Visual Arts, Crafts and Design-related qualifications have a range of intended occupations, with the most common being Visual Arts and Crafts Professional or Performing Arts Technician.

TAFE institutes delivered well over half of the Visual Arts, Crafts and Design-related qualifications in 2018 (60%), with the remainder of enrolments predominantly at private training providers (21%). Three quarters of subjects overall were Commonwealth and state funded (75%), though funding source was more varied for private training providers, with 55% Commonwealth and state funded and 39% domestic fee-for-service arrangements. Around half of the students enrolled in these qualifications resided across New South Wales (23%), Queensland (15%) and Western Australia (12%).

The majority of training was delivered in New South Wales (27%), Western Australia (27%), Victoria (23%) and Queensland (14%).

For more data specific to your occupation, industry or training package, visit NCVER’s VET students by industry. If you are prompted to log in, select cancel and you will continue to be directed to the program.

For more data specific to your region visit NCVER’s Atlas of Total VET.  

If you are interested in extracting NCVER data to construct tables with data relevant to you, sign up for a VOCSTATS account.

Industry insights

For an analysis of skills needs and workforce demand, see the Arts, Culture, Entertainment and Design cluster page.

The Culture and Related Industries IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast highlights how the rise of the gig economy and freelance work is presenting both challenges and opportunities for the industry overall. This type of work, however, is more prevalent within certain subsectors such as Visual Arts, Crafts and Design. Historically, this sector has largely chosen to self-manage their career rather than depend on galleries or other third parties to assist with management and promotion. This does, however, expose these workers to working conditions which causes them to forego benefits such as sick leave, maternity leave, superannuation contributions and holiday pay.

The Crafting Self: Promoting the Making Self in the Creative Micro-Economy research report which investigates the changing environment for operating a creative micro-enterprise provides a range of general advice points, put together as a result of research among emerging and established creative makers. Many of the points raised are generally applicable to those working in the gig economy and as freelancers. The advice is varied and includes aspects such as: developing the business slowly overtime while maintaining other forms of income, doing further study as a way of accessing a studio, understand your customer base, financial advice and developing a strong network.

The prevalence of a gig economy and freelance work within this sector also highlights the need for these workers to capitalise on technology and social media to reach a greater range of consumers. As outlined in the Culture and Related Industries IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast, this may be achieved by ensuring workers have the skills and knowledge to establish a digital presence, engage audiences through digital platforms, and distribute and promote art.

A discussion paper by Arts Queensland, Department of Environment and Science identifies the significance of this sector for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, highlighting that engagement in arts among First Nations not only supports economic empowerment but also builds community connectedness among these communities. Linking back to the current growth of technology, this paper outlines how this rapid development presents opportunities for the sector, particularly with regards to Queensland’s geographic remoteness, therefore effective use of technology can enhance regional access by growing audience reach, as well as supporting collaboration with international markets.

For insights relevant to Visual Arts, Crafts and Design and other related fields generally, see the Arts, Culture, Entertainment and Design cluster page.

Links and resources

Industry associations and advisory bodies

Association for Creative Industries

Australian Artists Association

Australian Design Alliance

Design Institute of Australia

National Association for the Visual Arts

World Crafts Council Australia

 

Relevant research

Crafting Self – Promoting the Making Self in the Creative Micro-Economy – Susan Luckman, Jane Andrew and Tracy Crisp for the School of Creative Industries, University of South Australia

Creating Queensland’s Future: 10-Year Roadmap for the Arts, Cultural and Creative Sector: A Discussion Paper for Consultation – Arts Queensland, Department of Environment and Science

Visual Art and Design Industry Snapshot 2017 – FutureNow (Western Australian Training Council for the Creative, Leisure and Technology Industries)

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment 2019, Employment Projections, available from the Labour Market Information Portal.

  • by ANZSCO, selected occupations, employment projections to May 2024
    • Visual Arts and Crafts Professionals.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2019, Employed persons by Occupation unit group of main job (ANZSCO), Sex, State and Territory, August 1986 onwards, 6291.0.55.003 - EQ06, viewed 16 December 2019 https://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/6291.0.55.003May%202019?OpenDocument.

  • Employed total by ANZSIC 4 digit Visual Arts and Crafts Professionals, 2000 to 2019, May Quarter.

Training data has been extracted from the National VET Provider Collection, Total VET Student and Courses from the following training packages or qualifications:

  • CUA Creative Arts and Culture, CUV Art and Culture, and CUE Entertainment Training Packages
  • Ceramics and Opal Cutting and Polishing
    • CUA51215 - Diploma of Ceramics
    • CUV20311 - Certificate II in Opal Cutting and Polishing
    • CUV50211 - Diploma of Ceramics.
  • Cultural Arts (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander)
    • CUA10215 - Certificate I in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Arts
    • CUA20415 - Certificate II in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Arts
    • CUA30515 - Certificate III in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Arts
    • CUA40615 - Certificate IV in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Arts
    • CUV10211 - Certificate I in Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Cultural Arts
    • CUV20211 - Certificate II in Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Cultural Arts
    • CUV30211 - Certificate III in Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Cultural Arts
    • CUV40211 - Certificate IV in Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Cultural Arts.
  • Design and Creative Product Development
    • CUA30715 - Certificate III in Design Fundamentals
    • CUA40715 - Certificate IV in Design
    • CUA60415 - Advanced Diploma of Creative Product Development
    • CUV30311 - Certificate III in Design Fundamentals
    • CUV40311 - Certificate IV in Design
    • CUV60307 - Advanced Diploma of Creative Product Development
    • CUV60311 - Advanced Diploma of Creative Product Development.
  • Graphic Design, Photography and Photo Imaging
    • CUA41115 - Certificate IV in Photography and Photo Imaging
    • CUA50715 - Diploma of Graphic Design
    • CUA50915 - Diploma of Photography and Photo Imaging
    • CUA60315 - Advanced Diploma of Graphic Design
    • CUV40411 - Certificate IV in Photo Imaging
    • CUV50311 - Diploma of Graphic Design
    • CUV50407 - Diploma of Photoimaging
    • CUV50411 - Diploma of Photo Imaging
    • CUV60411 - Advanced Diploma of Graphic Design.
  • Visual Arts
    • CUA10315 - Certificate I in Visual Arts
    • CUA20715 - Certificate II in Visual Arts
    • CUA31115 - Certificate III in Visual Arts
    • CUA41315 - Certificate IV in Visual Arts
    • CUA51115 - Diploma of Visual Arts
    • CUA60715 - Advanced Diploma of Visual Arts
    • CUV10103 - Certificate I in Visual Arts and Contemporary Craft
    • CUV10111 - Certificate I in Visual Arts
    • CUV20111 - Certificate II in Visual Arts
    • CUV30111 - Certificate III in Visual Arts
    • CUV40103 - Certificate IV in Visual Arts and Contemporary Craft
    • CUV40111 - Certificate IV in Visual Arts
    • CUV50111 - Diploma of Visual Arts
    • CUV60211 - Advanced Diploma of Visual Arts.

This includes superseded qualifications and training packages.

Data covers a range of selected student and training characteristics in the following categories and years:

  • 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 program enrolments
  • 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 program completions.

Total VET students and courses data is reported for the calendar year. Program enrolments are the qualifications, courses and skill-sets in which students are enrolled in a given period. For students enrolled in multiple programs, all programs are counted. Program completion indicates that a student has completed a structured and integrated program of education or training. Subject enrolment is the registration of a student at a training delivery location for the purpose of undertaking a module, unit of competency or subject. For more information on the terms and definitions, please refer to the Total VET students and courses: terms and definitions document. 

Low counts (less than five) are not reported to protect client confidentiality.  

Priority skills data have been extracted from the Culture and Related Industries IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast.

Updated: 16 Mar 2020
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