Filling the gaps in your CV

We speak to a popular workshop provider to find out why short courses are growing in popularity.
Filling the gaps in your CV

Image: supplied.

It’s not often that your first job is the one you stay in. Career paths shift and change as we move through life, especially in the arts, where someone may start out as a classically trained musician for example, but eventually begin an interesting career creating music for television. For others it might be that developments in your industry necessitate the learning of new skills. 

Either way, short courses are becoming increasingly recognised as an avenue for professional development.


Short courses offer a time efficient way to hone existing skills or develop new ones. At the McGregor Summer Arts Retreat run through Artsworx, which is hosting its 50th School from 7-13 January 2018, professionals and amateurs alike spend seven days on campus at the University of Southern Queensland (USQ). There, in the regional town of Toowoomba only 1.5 hours from Brisbane, students immerse themselves in their choice of visual, creative, or music workshops as a way to fill in any gaps in their CV.

The courses ‘add a bit more strength to their portfolio of what they can do,’ said Cassy Stephan, McGregor Co-ordinator at Artsworx. 

Image: supplied.

‘We have had music teachers come and join us for their own professional development. They might be, for example, a piano player but because they have to teach other instruments as well they come to work on a different instrument that isn’t their primary study.’

The same can be said of the creative and visual arts workshops. ‘The visual and creative arts are your acrylics, watercolour, drawing. The creative arts is a mix, we have woodworking, carving, photography, jewellery making, weaving and even leather shoe making.’

‘We have one person who has been several years in a row and through his tutors he has made this connection to go overseas and do a recording project. There are lots of interesting stories that come out of the retreat.’ 

View list of workshops here

The workshops are not only suitable for professional development. Many students attend different workshops year after year for the love of it and enjoy the relaxed creativity of a regional retreat whose location offers easy access through the local airport. 

‘It is not just about the art for them, but about this social aspect and sharing of ideas. Many of them stay on campus and it is quite a community that they have created,’ said Stephan.

Image: supplied.

‘We always try to help people. Some might start an advanced class and then find it is not quite right for their skill level so we try to find the right fit for them. Everyone who comes along has their own set of goals and what they want to achieve out of it. We try to capture their goals when they enrol so that we can actually facilitate and put that together with the tutors before they start. It makes it a more meaningful journey for them as an individual.’

The workshops end with a market where students can sell their work to the general public. ‘It’s a great opportunity to pick up great art works, particularly by tutors who you normally would only be able to get in a gallery,’ said Stephan.


Visual Arts

  • New Ways in Pen and Watercolour with Cees Sliedrecht
  • ‘Still Life’ and ‘Life Stilled’ with Michael Winters
  • Contemporary Watercolour with Charles Sluga
  • Mixed Media and Acrylics with Mignon Parker
  • Pastels with Maxwell Wilks
  • Watercolour with Maria Field
  • Acrylics with David Hinchliffe
  • Drawing with Deb Gilmartin
  • Oils with John Wilson
  • Printmaking with Graham Marchant
  • Watercolour with David Taylor
  • Acrylics with Jenni Kelly

Creative Arts

  • Calligraphy with Gemma Black
  • Millinery with Alison Clark
  • Jewellery with Mauri Maunsell
  • Ceramics with Anthony Brink
  • Basketry Weaving with Jillian Culey
  • Photography with Don Hildred
  • Object Making with Keith Lo Bu
  • Jewellery with Diane Appleby
  • Leather Shoemaking Jackie Orme Ward and Adrian Lockwood
  • Furniture Making with Geoff Hannah and Laurens Otto

Find out more about about the McGregor Summer Arts Retreat:

Find our more about the summer music retreat here:

Brooke Boland

Monday 7 August, 2017

About the author

Brooke Boland is a freelance writer based on the South Coast of NSW.