The soprano explains how the rise of the Protean career means arts organisations need to adapt to changing needs.

There is a lot of interest in the Australian performing arts at the moment around improving individual and collective mental health and wellbeing, for the sake of career sustainability – and even sustainability and productivity within the Arts itself.

The rise of the ‘Protean career’ (think ‘portfolio’ career on steroids) adds to the imperative for arts organisations to adapt to changing needs. For a performing artist, for example, the Protean career involves proficiency in multiple skill sets within, and even beyond, the performing arts, including rehearsing, practising, teaching or coaching, social media promotion, publicity, project management and technology (ie editing, digital media). Such careers offer artists greater self-efficacy, flexibility and resilience, autonomy and sustainability.

Greta Bradman, Mental Health Soprano Greta Bradman. Photo © Pia Johnson

Protean careers offer the Arts a flexible work-force, but increasingly necessitate their working harder to provide a rationale for good people to stick around. Organisations can use shared spaces, where creative people come together independent of current projects, to plan, create, talk, support one another, develop ideas...