Embedding arts and humanities in the creative economy: the role of graduates in the UK

Roberta Comunian*, Alessandra Faggian, Sarah Jewell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
5 Downloads (Pure)


The recent change in funding structure in the UK higher education system has fuelled an animated debate about the role that arts and humanities (A&H) subjects play not only within higher education but more broadly in the society and the economy. The debate has engaged with a variety of arguments and perspectives, from the intrinsic value of A&H, to their contribution to the broader society and their economic impact, particularly in relation to the creative economy, through knowledge exchange activities. The paper argues that in the current debate very little attention has been placed on the role that A&H graduates play in the economy, through their work after graduation, and specifically in the creative economy. Using Higher Education Statistical Agency data, we analyse the performance of A&H graduates (compared with other graduates) and particularly explore how embedded they are with the creative economy and its associated industries. The results highlight a complex intersection of different subdisciplines of the A&H with the creative economy but also reveal the salary gap and unstable working conditions experienced by graduates in this field.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)426-450
Number of pages25
JournalEnvironment and planning c-Government and policy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • creative economy
  • higher education
  • human capital
  • creative graduates
  • arts and humanities
  • graduate labour market


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