Shifting Sands : England

Shifting Sands is a UK-wide research project investigating graduate preparedness for work in the Contemporary Art sector and the challenges they face in their first year post graduation.

Shifting Sands: England will focus on the experiences of 2020 graduates from Yorkshire and the Humber Region. It will run from October 2021 – May 2023, and will involve interviews with Art graduates from Teesside University, Sheffield Hallam University, The University of Huddersfield, Leeds Arts University and Bradford College.

The landscape of the English Art scene has been changed beyond recognition by COVID-19, and the challenges now facing graduates will be very different in a post-COVID world. With this in mind we aim to identify the obstacles that have prevented 2020 graduates in Yorkshire and the Humber from gaining entry to, and establishing a career in, the sector and the specific challenges they face in the wake of COVID-19.

Shifting Sands: Scotland will run in conjunction with the English strand of the project and with a focus on 2020 graduate experience across Scotland. The research team leading this project consists of: Quinn Garrison, Co-organiser of In Session and PhD student at the University of Edinburgh and Ed Compson, Pause or Pay UK Co-founder

Our findings will be used to develop an action plan with recommendations of how institutions can work with students to design and deliver professional practice courses that reflect graduate needs and provide the next generation of creative practitioners with the tools they need to thrive and improve their chances of securing future employment in the sector.

If you are a 2020 Art graduate from Teesside University, Sheffield Hallam University, The University of Huddersfield, Leeds Arts University or Bradford College or if you were due to graduate in 2020 from one of these institutions but prematurely ended your studies then click here to take part:


We encourage participation in the study from those who are underrepresented in the art world and who face barriers to entry. These could, for example, be associated with race, disability, age, gender identity, sexuality, socio-economic or geographic barriers.

The deadline to apply for participation in the first phase of interviews is 8 February.

If you’d like more information about the research project, please feel to contact In Session ( or East Street Arts ( / 0113 248 0040 ).

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