Teaching Business and Labor History to Art and Design Students seeks to create curriculum (both new courses and curricular material to insert into current courses) for art and design students in order to educate them on the history of working as an artist or designer. Artists and designers aspire to be creative geniuses, and they often are. But they are also bosses, employees, members of professional associations, and citizens of nations that encourage and restrain their creative work in various ways. Art and design students are generally not taught the intricacies of those other roles, how to navigate them, or how to change them. Through this partnership among FIT History and Arts-and-Design faculty, new curricular materials will be developed to examine how the roles of designing and making became separated, how new technologies and the rise of mass production has affected creative careers, the shifts back and forth between direct employment and freelancing, and the evolution of government interventions in creative fields. This additional education will better prepare students for the world of work and empower them to imagine and create better, more profitable, and more enjoyable careers and industries.

This project has three primary objectives:

  1. Professional development for our faculty: gather, create, and use curricular materials to help faculty teach students in Art and Design majors the history of business and work in the fields they are entering, through traditional pedagogy and experiential learning. Humanities professors and professors of art and design will collaborate on the conception, development, implementation, and review of new curriculum.
  2. Encourage the academic study of the business and labor history of art and design— neglected fields in the academic literature—by our students, faculty, and professional scholars.
  3. Publicize and share with others the curricular materials and academic studies we develop in webinars, on a website, in two capstone conferences and two edited collections that draw from the conferences, to strengthen dissemination.