SQF Creative and Performing Disciplines

SQF Creative and Performing Disciplines


The document, Sectoral Qualifications Framework for the Creative & Performing Disciplines, is a bold attempt to produce a common set of statements about expected achievement levels for students in any and all of the disciplines represented: the visual arts, the performing arts, music and architecture. As well as seeking to define what these disciplines have in common, the framework is intended to bring into focus what sets them apart from other disciplines and gives them their distinctive character as a sectoral grouping.

In defining the Creative & Performing Disciplines as a sector, it is not the intention to minimise or negate the crucial differences that exist between individual disciplines within this grouping; on the contrary, these differences are inherent to each discipline and form part of the unique strengths that each possesses. However, the two propositions – of these being individual and distinctive disciplines and of their sharing a set of meaningful characteristics – are by no means mutually incompatible. Instead, each colours and enriches the other, with disciplinary or sectoral characteristics coming to the fore according to context. It is in this spirit that the group of experts assembled for the task of producing a joint sectoral framework have found themselves progressing from initial scepticism to eventual enthusiasm about what this framework may have to offer.

The experts whose collaboration produced this framework between them cover all the disciplines represented within it. All of them have been associated with the production of earlier, discipline-specific, tables of reference points that were primarily based upon the language and conceptual framing of the Dublin Descriptors and validated through widespread debate and discussion across their respective ERASMUS Thematic Networks. They approached the challenge of devising a new joint sectoral framework via independent reviews of their reference points, mapping these against the terminology employed in the European Qualifications Framework (EQF). This exercise not only encouraged flexibility and open-mindedness in their joint discussions, it also ensured that the new sectoral framework should itself be compatible with EQF.

The catalyst for generating mutual belief in the validity of a joint sectoral framework came from the realisation of the central role played by the dimension of creativity in all of the disciplines represented. In particular, this enabled the discipline of Architecture, which combines scientific, technical and artistic elements, to be comfortably co-located with the other essentially artistic disciplines. Creation and Creativity therefore embrace the other six dimensions identified as common to all the disciplines: Making, Performing, Designing, Conceptualising; Re-thinking, Considering and Interpreting the Human; Experimenting, Innovating & Researching; Theories, Histories & Cultures; Technical, Environmental & Contextual Issues; Communication, Collaboration & Interdisciplinarity; and Initiative & Enterprise.

The Sectoral Qualifications Framework for the Creative & Performing Disciplines currently covers the EQF levels 4, 6, 7 & 8. The experts based their sense of the expected levels of achievement at EQF Level 4 upon their experience of students at the stage of interview/audition for entry to higher education (EQF Levels 5 and above). Because of the nature of all their disciplines, and of the Bachelor programmes in these disciplines found across Europe, they also felt wary of attempting to define separate exit levels for a Short Degree (EQF Level 5). In both of these areas, they would especially welcome feedback, whether supportive or corrective, on their approach and the results it has generated. More generally, the experts are aware of the fact that the document they have produced still requires validation through a process of consultation and critical analysis by stakeholders across all disciplines represented - academic peers as well as students, graduates, prospective employers, etc. It is hoped that the comments and suggestions received during this consultation will help to fine-tune the document so that it may provide an accurate and also genuinely useful characterisation of a group of cognate disciplines whose nature is frequently misunderstood by those outside the field and whose collective significance for society more generally is all too easily underestimated.

Please direct any comments you might care to make in relation to this document to Ingrid van der Meer ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ).

Jeremy Cox (European Association of Conservatoires [AEC])

Lars Ebert and Truus Ophuysen (European League of Institutes of the Arts [ELIA])

Constantin Spiridonides (European Network of Heads of Schools of Architecture [ENSHA])