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The role will be based in DPI’s Illinois Workforce and Education Research Collaborative, and supported by a multi-institutional partnership.

Discovery Partners Institute, part of the University of Illinois System, announced today the creation of a three-year fellowship role that will bring a more arts-inclusive approach to workforce development, education, policy, and planning in the state and region.

A member of DPI’s Illinois Workforce and Education Research Collaborative team, the Creative Workforce Research Specialist will advance research on the social and economic impacts of the arts and artists across Illinois.

Funded by DPI, in conjunction with Arts Alliance Illinois, the College of Fine and Applied Arts at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts at the University of Illinois Chicago, this role will support DPI’s ambition to improve education and training for in-demand tech jobs, while incorporating an arts perspective to the work.

“When people think of tech, they think STEM,” said DPI’s Executive Director Bill Jackson. “But the fact is that there is a lot of the arts in tech, and there are always human factors. The creation of this role will bring a new perspective to the work we do.”

Design thinking and creativity are at the core of innovation, and it is the members of our artistic community who embody those traits. The goal of the fellowship is to serve as “proof of concept” in support of deeper collaborations across these and other organizations toward achieving nation-leading and transformative improvements in how Illinois identifies, prepares, supports, trains, and employs creative workers.

“The arts are everywhere in our state’s workforce,” said Kevin Hamilton, dean of the College of Fine and Applied Arts at UIUC. “Yet planners and policymakers only see them in their most familiar forms across design, performance, fine art, and architecture. By providing new research on arts labor, this partnership stands to make study in the arts a more viable path for many, and support for artists more undeniably essential to the health of our state.”

“The project of jointly supported research by nonprofit Arts Alliance Illinois, University of Illinois at both Urbana-Champaign and Chicago and the Discovery Partners Institute is a unique and special collaboration,” said Rebecca Rugg, dean of the College of Architecture, Design and the Arts. “UIC is proud to be involved and to help initiate this undertaking.”

The Creative Workforce Research Specialist is expected to issue briefs twice a year on the arts workforce, based on key data sets, including population and economic surveys of the Department of Labor, workforce, and arts policy. This individual will also support associated research for the Illinois Creative Workforce Activation project, including workforce pathways, skill mapping, cross training needs in high growth creative industries in Illinois, as well as high-growth, well-aligned roles outside of the creative sector.

“Artists bring so much to the table,” said Claire Rice, Executive Director at Arts Alliance Illinois. “Hiring a dedicated researcher to track their impact, assess their realities, and factor their talents into the bigger picture of what our state needs? That opens so many doors. This position will be directly responsive to the needs of the creative workers and cultural organizations that employ them, setting a new and exciting direction for arts research in Illinois.”

Qualified candidates will possess a Ph.D. (or pending Ph.D.) in the arts, education, economics, or a related field. They will also have a demonstrable commitment to the arts, through either prior research or service, experience analyzing large data sets, using appropriate statistical tools, and experience writing publication-quality research manuscripts.

For more information, or to apply, visit:

The position is currently scheduled to close on 11/28/22, and the hiring process will commence after the close date.