Bridging the gap between business and creative arts

Screen star Rachael Wegener customised her degree and overloaded on topics to ensure she would graduate with both creative and business skills. Now Flinders’ revolutionary new creative arts (enterprise) degree lets creatives embark on a single path to set them up for success in a commercial world.

Ms Wegener says her vision for the future was clear.

“First and foremost, I am creative. I’m an actress and director but I also have a keen business side, and I wanted to be a producer too,” she says.

“The creative industry is a waiting game. I wanted to be proactive and create opportunities. I wanted to understand the business so I could understand where I fitted and could create my own content.”

After her acceptance into Flinders University, Ms Wegener persisted in chasing her dream to combine creativity with business.

The first step was creating her own ‘creative business’ degree, by combining a Bachelor of Creative Arts (Hons) with a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Commerce, and Bachelor of Laws and Legal Practice. This approach saw her study diverse topics from drama, screen and storytelling to law, economics and finance.

She needed to overload on topic units at times, but credits this foundation as instrumental to her success.

An internationally accomplished actor, producer and director and recently named a Screen Producers Australia 2018 One to Watch, under which she is receiving mentorship from Chris Oliver-Taylor CEO of Fremantlemedia, Ms Wegener says understanding the business side of the arts industry is immensely important.

“I’ve seen many creative people stress over things outside their control and unsure where they fit into the wheel of the industry, or how they can help themselves,” she says.

In 2019, Flinders University will introduce the revolutionary Bachelor of Creative Arts (Enterprise) degree, providing students with the opportunity to learn the business behind creativity. It will build skills in production, events, marketing, entrepreneurship and start-ups, and will ask students to engage in creative pursuits beyond the traditional realms of their area.

Dr Tully Barnett, Lecturer in the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, says “We became aware that there were a lot of students who were putting together their own degrees – combining their creative arts studies with topics from the business school and other areas so they could come out with the skills they needed to negotiate contracts, do their own marketing, be sole traders, and understand how accounting works.”

Students who enrol in one of the practice-specific creative degrees – such as drama or visual arts – will also have the opportunity to complement their studies with subjects in entrepreneurship and enterprise through the Bachelor of Letters.

“It’s the best of both worlds,” says Dr Barnett.

Ms Wegener agrees that Flinders’ new Bachelor of Creative Arts (Enterprise) degree puts students in the driving seat.

“Without having to undertake other topics that are not necessarily related to creative industries, this degree will prepare students for a career in the areas that they may end up battling day to day,” she says.

Since graduating, Ms Wegener has worked in both business and the creative arts and as an actor and producer in many productions, including acting alongside Sam Worthington in Deadline Gallipoli and in the Canadian Leo Award nominated series For Your Security, and the award-winning Canadian film Come Home Soon.

She has acted in and produced highly acclaimed plays at the Adelaide Festival Centre, of which she was nominated for a 2017 “Walk of Fame” plaque and named a 2017 Screen Siren Producer by the South Australian Film Corporation.

Ms Wegener has some exciting projects in the pipeline, including with renowned producer David Lightfoot (Wolf Creek, Bad Boy Bubby), and Directors Michael Rymer (Hannibal, Battlestar Galactica), Peter Andrikidis (Underbelly, Janet King) and Rod Hardy (X-Files, The December Boys).

Thanks to her stellar start at Flinders, Ms Wegener is looking forward to an even brighter future as she continues to build her creative empire.

Rachael Wegener (’08) is a graduate of the Bachelor Creative Arts (Hons), Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Commerce, and Bachelor of Laws and Legal Practice). Her full biography can be viewed on IMDb.

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