Artists get education, but few jobs

Artists get education, but few jobs

Lost in the noise about the diplomas of actors, musicians and the like supposedly being “downgraded” to high-school level (a designation which applied only if they sought public sector jobs unrelated to their studies) and the subsequent compromise formula found after a meeting with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, is the fact that university-level programs in various arts already exist. 

Since October, the Athens Conservatory offers a four-year music studies program, in partnership with the University of London’s Goldsmiths College. The partnership was necessary because the monopoly of state universities on higher education granted by the Constitution forbade the Consevatory, a private-law, non-profit entity, to offer a university level degree on its own.

Nine students comprise the inaugural class in the new Music College.

Likewise, Thessaloniki’s Aristotle University has been offering, since 1992, a five-year course for aspiring actors, directors and stage designers. By contrast, the Theater Studies program at the University of Athens turns out theater studies scholars, with little practical training, who are mainly equipped to teach about the social, political, philosophical and economic dimensions of theater studies, but cannot train aspiring actors or directors. This department turns out about 90 graduates each year.

The paucity of university programs for actors, musicians and other artists has been filled by several private schools that churn out some 500 new actors every year; Sweden, by comparison, has 12 actor graduates annually.

Greek students “have paid too many euros for the right to unemployment,” says former National Theater Director Stathis Livathinos.

Thus, the artists’ quest to secure a permanent public sector job on the best possible pay scale is understandable.

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