05 September 2018

The winner of the AGCAS Strategic Innovation Award 2018 is the Careers and Employability Service at the University of the Arts, London (UAL) for their pioneering employability, learning and retail space not just a shop.

not just a shop sells exciting design products and artwork created by students and alumni from UAL’s six art and design colleges. All work is purchased from the students or alumni and profits are used to fund the employability and enterprise events programme provided by the service. Students and graduates can also attend talks and ono-to-one business advice sessions covering topics such as: working with retailers, pricing, intellectual property, freelancing, manufacturing, marketing and branding.

Through introducing studio learning pedagogy into careers education for creative students and graduates, a functioning retail space has been adapted to also support an experimental learning environment. Since launching in 2017, not just a shop has stocked 557 different lines by 54 artists and designers. The affiliated employability education programme also ran 20 events with a total of 626 attendees since this time. As well as this the service has incorporated a programme of work experience in PR, marketing and visual merchandising.

The entrepreneurial nature of the project has created a new way of working for the university which is situated between commercial activity and the educational offer. Alongside this they have established partnerships with external collaborators, such as the University of Glasgow and The Tate, which are able to further elevate the capabilities of not just a shop.

Judges comments

this innovative project created value for the whole institution, building business skills for their students in an area which is problematic for graduate outcomes