How goal-based projects can help kickstart your arts career

The new Master of Creative Industries at JMC Academy is a way for students to create a commercialisable product in addition to forming a valuable relationship with a mentor.
How goal-based projects can help kickstart your arts career

Students undertaking a Master of Creative Industries at JMC Academy work on a project which they want to take to market. Image: Supplied

Students with a passion and a purpose are eager learners, according to Martin Cass, founder of JMC Academy.

‘Research has told us that if a student has got a purpose other than just, “I want to learn,” and if that purpose provides the opportunity for them to actually move into their [chosen] industry sector … and start their working career with something tangible, then they will work harder for it,’ said Cass.


It’s this premise which forms the basis of JMC Academy’s Master of Creative Industries, which will be offered to students in 2019. 

Inspired by Cass’ recent PhD in the area, the Masters is aimed at creatives who want to take a project – such as an EP or album, a VR experience or even choreographing a dance piece – to market by course completion.

‘There’s a significant amount of theory in this Masters, which is focused on understanding  various sectors of the creative industries,’ Cass said. ‘By undertaking practical work in their chosen field, students will be able to develop their research skills in order to create a product they can take to market, so they end up graduating with not just a piece of paper but a commercialisable product.

‘Instead of being bombarded with a whole pile of theory, the student has actually got an objective, a purpose to what they’re doing.’

A major part of the course is the emphasis placed on supporting the students, including providing them with mentors who visit regularly and assist with their specific project.

Students who study the Master of Creative Industries will have access to mentors who are specialists in their industry. Image: Supplied

‘What the mentor is doing is providing a direction for you to steer in to keep you on track; it’s not dissimilar to what happens when you’re doing a PhD and you’re allocated a supervisor. It’s just about support mechanisms,’ Cass said.

Another benefit of having an individual mentor is that they are very much industry-aligned, something that is increasingly rare, Cass explained.

‘Universities have lots of great people, but there’s always a push from the regulator to have full-time employees in Higher Education institutions,’ he said. ‘The problem with that is that they become academics and don’t have that much to do with industry. Don’t get me wrong, they do great work, but that requirement really puts a dampener on what Higher Education institutions can do in terms of their relationships with industry.

‘We get around that by having full time staff – as we naturally do – and by bringing mentors in as part of the process, creating that connection to industry.’

The professional relationships that students develop with their teachers is honed in a small-class environment, allowing for them to form a stronger individual connection with a tutor than they may do in a larger university tutorial.

‘One thing that absolutely happens in education is that when you’re standing in front of the same person for a year and educating them, providing them with inspiration, motivation and a broad body of knowledge, you get to know that person very well. And what you do is create a relationship and that’s very important. When an opportunity presents itself, you immediately think of the person you have a relationship with who this project could be good for. That’s what the world is about, it’s about relationships.’

Applications for the Master of Creatives Industries at JMC Academy are open now, with intake dates commencing in February, June and September of 2019. Visit for details.

About the author

Sabine Brix is a writer, editor, podcaster and electronic musician with a specific interest in personal storytelling that captures the essence of why people create. She was the former Online Content Producer at Archer Magazine and editor of the LGBTI website: Gay News Network.

She has produced sound art for BBC's Radio4  and composed music for the web series Starting From Now, which screened on SBS.

Follow Sabine on Twitter @sabinebrix