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Detour Ahead: a roadmap for the art and design industry

Architecture

Weeklong lecture series provides insight into creative world

Living in a time of emerging automation and artificial intelligence, it will be the artists, the designers, the thinkers and problem solvers who will shape the world to come. In this new era, being agile, multi-skilled and adaptable will be key to success.

At the University of East London, we aim to equip our students with the confidence and academic skills, all while encouraging students to think experimentally and evolve the future of our fields.

As part of working collaboratively, a week of guest lectures is put on annually by the clusters expert staff helping students prepare for professional success.

Dan Duran, cluster lead for Visual arts, explained, “Detour Ahead is an event where formal teaching stops, practitioners come in and offer inspiration by discussing the paths they took. This is a unique event and the advice and insight students gain is always priceless.”

Highlights from the week included sessions from Airbnb creative director Ed Vince, illustrator and graphic artist Will Sweeney and BAFTA nominated filmmaker Marcus Armitage.

James Windsor, accountant to the stars who has worked with everyone from Monty Python to the painter Peter Doig, spoke to students about all things finance. The popular session provided helpful tips and advice for creatives to transition into becoming a self-employed artist.

The unique event is in its seventh year and featured artists, designers, illustrators, curators and many more talk about professional practice and varied routes from art school to professional success.

UEL’s own Michael Pinsky gave an insightful lecture about what culture has to do with climate change – the answer, everything! Joined by Guardian journalist Andrew Simms and photographer Hannah Fletcher, they all spoke about their professional experience and how culture needed to shift to react to climate change.

Mr Simms’s talk was largely based on air pollution and global heating, which he said is "directly linked to economic activity over hundreds of years". He also focused on how the global attitude to climate issues can be impacted by the determination of the youth, like Greta Thunberg and other young protesters. 

The annual event has grown over the years and will be back in 2021 with some fantastic industry experts.