“Dropping out and working”: The vocational narratives of creative graduates

Scott Brook*, Roberta Comunian

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter focuses on the vocational narratives of creative graduates. Using qualitative interviews from Australia and the UK, it reflects on how vocational identities are produced by creatives and how they understand the relationship between creative skills and employment more broadly. Using the concept of “narratives of employability” and reflecting on the inability of creative graduates to use their educational credentials, we highlight how the “lived and narrated experience” that is not only reported but continuously performed and embodied, becomes a key object of analysis. The findings highlight that such narratives balance a set of common oppositions, such as commitment/flexibility, autonomy/instrumentalism, and personal effort/constraints of social context. We observe that vocational narratives are used in relation to managing (financial) risk and “embedded” forms of creative work, allowing graduates to fine-tune their vocational identity within creative work in and outside of the creative industries.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Palgrave Handbook of Creativity at Work
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9783319773506
ISBN (Print)9783319773490
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


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