Looking to expand its commitment to taking its world-class education offer global, the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico recently became the island’s first university to join the world’s only creative graduate website, Arts Thread.
Following a recent lecture by Alex Brownless, co-founder and director at Arts Thread Ltd., on bridging the global gap between education and the industry, the Polytechnic’s School of Architecture and School of Landscape Architecture took it upon themselves to add the platform to the expanding outlets students have at their disposal to showcase their work and seek employment opportunities, school officials said Wednesday.
“As teachers and mentors at the School of Architecture, and of this new generation of architects and designers from Puerto Rico, we are committed to present all means and tools that are available to our students for a much broader intellectual exchange,” said Carlos E. Betancourt-Llambias, dean of the School of Architecture. “It is through this network where the exploration of these skills and abilities are made available to our students.”
Headquartered in London, Arts Thread is an online educational website designed to connect industry, universities, schools, and students worldwide, exclusively within the field of design. Through this platform, students and graduates around the world can create an individual well-designed online portfolio that truly promotes their work, skills and abilities; as well as exchange opinions and gain employment in world renowned companies such as Nike, Nokia and Stella McCartney.
The site also allows universities and colleges the opportunity to promote their own specific courses, showcasing graduates’ portfolios to a global audience, and marketing the courses to industry for sponsorships and internships.
“We originally created a magazine, which went down very, very well with the creative industry,” said Brownless. “It was the industry that suggested the creation of a website, because it’s more democratic. Which means you can get more designers, architects, and industrial designers to upload their portfolios on the Arts Thread website and industry can simply search for what they are looking for.”
“It’s proved to be a real asset for undergraduates and graduates as many have gained employment, freelance work and commissions, they’ve also been selected for events and exhibitions around the world,” he said.
Currently, Arts Thread has around 6,000 undergraduates and graduates on the website, but that number is expected to grow to about 15,000 in the next 12 months. The portfolio section boasts more than 30,000 pages.
But online portfolios are just the tip of the iceberg, Brownless said.
“This creative portal touches the Facebook and LinkedIn principles: it allows you to collaborate,” Brownless explained. “We are trying to form relationships, and the more relationships that we build the better. It means that there is no communication breakdown. It means that, potentially, you’ve got a nice chance of going forward with something that can make you famous. We want to make stars here.”
Architecture in a brave new online world
As more industries and organizations move their operations to the web and the cloud, both Brownless and Dean Betancourt-Llambías agreed that a well-designed professional online presence has become a must for the creative industry.
“It is so important to have an online presence. It is absolutely imperative that you have an online portfolio, so the creative industry can find you. By all means, have your own website. It’s really important to have a website, but it’s important to be found. And the only way to be found, really, has to be through a creative portal like Arts Thread,” said Brownless. “However, you also have to be tenacious, passionate, versatile, personable, warm, and genuine. That’s half the battle, if not everything. Talent and functionality and willingness to collaborate are good. Team ethic is a good thing.”