DCAF anyone?

DCAF Handbook ImageFor almost ten years earlier this century I worked as a Business Adviser – primarily with creative businesses, digital businesses – and businesses which combined both.  During this exciting period I worked with a large number of startups and micro  businesses; managed a specialist team in London and was involved in recruiting and establishing another team in Liverpool.  I presented occasionally at conferences on digital business matters and also got ‘hands-on’ with the planning and development of significant online platforms.  Much of my time was spent with a fascinating mix of inspiring creative entrepreneurs.

One of the themes encountered a lot during this period was this:  young creatives, often recent graduates of Higher Education Art and Design Establishments, would be very eager to access the advice and support on offer and often bemoaned the lack of ‘enterprise’ advice / expertise available to them at university.

In the intervening years this situation has improved substantially, with opportunities such as ‘live projects’ and ‘placements’ embedded within many courses.  At University of the Arts London (UAL) the ‘Creative Attributes Framework’ (CAF) identifies a number ‘attributes’.  These, according to research, are attributes (behaviours and skills), which are essential (or at least extremely advantageous) to creative practitioners throughout their careers.  The ‘CAF’ is used by course teams when planning courses and learning activities – truly embedding ‘enterprise’ skills at the heart of the curriculum.

The ‘DCAF’ is essentially a variant of the ‘CAF’ and takes as its starting point the same nine attributes.

These nine attributes fall within three families:

  • Making Things Happen
  • Showcasing Abilities
  • Navigating Change

The ‘practices’ explored within the DCAF relate to Digital behaviours and skills – and avoid falling into the trap of being prescriptive (the ‘scenarios’ column is left deliberately blank for those engaging with the DCAF to make it relevant for their own projects and practices).

There is a splendid blog dedicated to the DCAF which you can access at https://dcaf.myblog.arts.ac.uk

The superbly designed accompanying booklet was designed by Conor Rigby, whose abilities are showcased at http://conorrigby.com.

Published by

John Jackson

Higher Education teaching and learning. Senior Digital Learning Coordinator / Educational Developer at University of the Arts London (UAL). Professional advice, consultancy, pan-European+, commercial, public sector, digital innovator, open source, FOSS, eclectic, semi-lapsed linguist and sometime amateur musician. Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA). Occasional blogger and conference attender and presenter.

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