10 jobs to consider for a career change in 2023

Whether you have visions to go out on your own, lead the next festival or be the creative behind the scenes, Arts professionals offer their insights.

Over the past year many of us changed the way we work, from the ‘great resignation’ to rethinking hybrid models and portfolio careers as freelancers at home. For others, the shuffling of deckchairs also meant that aspirations could be met on the career ladder.

Perhaps 2023 is the year for change for you? Here are some career options you may entertain.

Behind the scenes

We are not all geared to take the helm of an organisation or be on the front line, on the main stage or chasing the constant sell as a freelancer. Here are some jobs better suited to careers that contribute solidly to the end product, from behind the scenes.

Lighting Designer
To work well as a lighting designer you need to be able to pick up on the emotional cues of the work you’re watching, says Richard Vabre.

Set Designer
If you’re collaborative, highly organised and can balance both technical and creative skills, a career in stage design may be for you, says Ailsa Paterson.

Studio Assistant
Balancing her own practice as a painter, Mirra Whale is a studio assistant to Ben Quilty. She describes her job as being an ‘an extra set of hands, skills and labour that allows an artist to accomplish their works’.

Museum Preparator
Do you have a strong stomach and keen love for natural history? With 30 years’ experience at the Melbourne Museum, Dean Smith’s daily work could range from defleshing washed up whales to recording taxidermy data for researchers in his role as a Museum Preparator.  

Being a scribe is an intense but rewarding experience that requires trust and a synergy of process, says Deborah Vanderwerp, adding, ‘In essence I write down what someone else has dictated to me.’

Specialist careers

Sculpture Festival Access Manager
What’s it like to wear Meghan Kennedy’s shoes, as the Education, Access and Inclusion Program Manager for Sculpture by the Sea, an annual festival that takes art outdoors?

The arts are full of them – specialist careers – from paper conservators to glass gaffers. If you have a passion for something in particular, then you are likely to find a way to nurture it within the arts.

Literary agent
Loving books is mandatory, but being a literary agent necessitates many different avenues of advocating for authors. With her own company and over 25 years’ experience working in the publishing and bookselling industry, Alex Adsett shares her advice.

Art Adviser
Between lots of phone calls, gallery visits and research, listening is key to being an art adviser, says Anna Waldmann.

Freelance dancer and choreographer Eliza Cooper explores the multifaceted aspects of her profession and reveals the excitement of interdisciplinary practices.

Read: How long should you stay in a job?

Freelance flexibility

Do you struggle with working under others and prefer to manage your own day, career drive, expectations… and bank balance? Then here are a few freelance and gig careers that may be your dream path.

TV and Film Extra
If you don’t mind waiting around a lot, being an extra on-set can be an interesting experience. As a freelance writer working on his first book, Richard Castles needs to somehow make money, so he is a casual film and television extra. 

Freeelance Arts Photographer
More than just clicking the shutter, Daniel Boud has photographed celebrities from Flume to Cate Blanchett and Ai Wei Wei – we talk to him about what the job entails.

Gina Fairley is ArtsHub's National Visual Arts Editor. For a decade she worked as a freelance writer and curator across Southeast Asia and was previously the Regional Contributing Editor for Hong Kong based magazines Asian Art News and World Sculpture News. Prior to writing she worked as an arts manager in America and Australia for 14 years, including the regional gallery, biennale and commercial sectors. She is based in Mittagong, regional NSW. Twitter: @ginafairley Instagram: fairleygina