DCAF – WTF?

DCAF Handbook ImageFor much of the Noughties I was a Business Adviser – specialising in creative businesses and digital business.  This was a fascinating and inspiring period during which I worked with a large number of startups and small businesses; managed a team of specialist advisers in London and was involved in recruiting and establishing a team in Liverpool.  I presented occasionally at conferences – especially on digital business matters – and got ‘hands-on’ with the development of online platforms and web presences.  Most of the time was spent with a fascinating mix of incredibly inspiring fledgling (and established) creative entrepreneurs.

So why I am telling you this?  Quite simply, to set the scene and to highlight one of the themes we encountered a lot during this period.  Young creatives, often recent graduates of Higher Education Art and Design Establishments, would be very eager to access the advice and support on offer whilst often bemoaning the lack of ‘enterprise’ advice / expertise available to them at university.

In the intervening years this has improved substantially in breadth and depth, 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.

So, onto the ‘DCAF’ of my acronym-tastic title.  “Digital Creative Attributes Framework – What (are) The Facts?”  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.

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