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The goal of the study is a differentiated analysis of career paths of graduates who completed their diploma, bachelor’s or master’s degree at the Academy of Fine Ars Vienna between the study years 2000/01 and 2017/18. To illustrate the variety and continuities, or discontinuities, of graduates’ lives and career paths, the longest-term observation periods possible are intended. The focus is on the impact that their studies had on graduates’ careers.

The study will give special consideration to the perspective of graduates, their self-perception and self-evaluation. Moreover, the situation of graduates of the various different courses of study at the Academy (Architecture, Fine Arts, Scenography, Conservation and Restoration, Education in the Arts, Master in Critical Studies) will be examined and represented in their respective specific constellations. The research approach will be informed by a gender and diversity-specific perspective.

The following issues will be central:

  • What professions or areas of work are, or were, Academy graduates employed in? What is, or was, the employment and income situation of graduates in those professions or areas of work? What biographic developments, or breaks, can be identified?
  • What were crucial career steps, or stumbling blocks, in the professional development of graduates, and what were the factors leading up to them? Were there also factors, particularly conducive ones, that can be attributed to the Academy?
  • What connecting lines can be drawn between studies (e.g. project work, internships, paid jobs, qualifications profile, stays abroad, networks, personal contacts) and professional careers? And which were most important? How far were they a relevant factor for career decisions or professional progress?
  • How did social factors (like gender, social class, origin, family background, language, etc.) have influence on the course of studies and particularly on career paths? How were specific social and cultural resources, or the absence of them, helpful or a hindrance? Were there any specific influencing factors on the part of the Academy that came in helpful or were supportive during the course of studies or later in professional life? Was the Academy able to remove access barriers to relevant (artistic) social fields and help improve chances?

Methodologically, the study integrates both qualitative and quantitative approaches. Its main part consists of an online poll held among the total cohort of graduates who completed their studies between 200/01 and 2017/18. The results gained will be interpreted in different analytic processes. Biographic-narrative follow-up interviews with graduates will provide in-depth insights into graduates’ career paths.

Based on an invited tender, the Centre for Social Innovation – ZSI / Department of Work and Equal Opportunities https://www.zsi.at/en/ac was commissioned to conduct the study. Quality Management will accompany the project in a consulting capacity.

The final report on the study will be completed in January 2020.


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