WaterBear and Falmouth University announce joint venture

Posted on November 19, 2020

Falmouth University has strengthened its successful partnership with WaterBear, the College of Music in Brighton, through an innovative joint venture in which Falmouth University is investing in WaterBear and taking a seat on the WaterBear board.

WaterBear already offers deeply industry-focused and internationally recognised degrees including BA(Hons) Career Musician and MA Music Entrepreneur, which are awarded by Falmouth University, and delivered in Brighton and online, with students being able to start their studies in September or January each year.

Professor Anne Carlisle OBE, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of Falmouth University, said: “Falmouth University’s strategy is founded in a commitment to both innovation and collaboration. That means we are continually investing in industry-connected, cutting edge teaching and new partnerships with sector-leading institutions like WaterBear. This partnership brings together the deep industry expertise and experience of the WaterBear team in Brighton with our TEF Gold rated ‘doing it for real’ approach to education.

“This is undeniably a challenging time for the music industry, but we believe that the future-focussed skills students develop on our courses equip them to graduate as confident, flexible and entrepreneurial graduates, ready to contribute to the creative economy.”

The joint venture builds on Falmouth University’s 118-year history in creative education, significant course portfolio and experience of delivering online degrees, combined with WaterBear’s student- and industry-centred flexible delivery approach. This will respond to the current and future needs of students to have a career-focused, flexible and personalised learning journey.

Bruce Dickinson, professional musician and co-founder of WaterBear, said: “We are thrilled to be partnering even more closely with Falmouth University and excited to develop these possibilities with an institution which is internationally respected for its quality education in the creative industries. What particularly attracted us though was Falmouth’s progressive vision which is so responsive to the realities of professional music practice now. In our experience, despite the many challenges all institutions are facing at the moment, Falmouth has decided that the way to thrive is to innovate in areas of need and opportunity, learning lessons which will no doubt be relevant beyond music education alone.”

“Professional musicians now have independent portfolio careers less dependent on single sponsors or labels in which they develop their own careers with several different income streams. WaterBear understands this and reflects this in both our teaching and culture, ensuring that we draw on a personalised approach which is not derailed by periods touring and recording. Our approach is that you have to be in the industry to understand it and teach it. “

Reflecting on the changing needs of students and moving beyond the traditional classroom education, Bruce Dickinson added: “We believe this is the way of the future for professional arts and musical education. Education cannot be constrained within a classroom, we need to create learning communities which incorporate and enhance the learning which takes place in recording studios, on tour and in commercial negotiations. We must also help musicians understand how to monetise their work in areas of growth in the music industry, whether through digitisation or delivering experiences in more personalised ways.

“We are confident that this will be the way of the future for the creative industries in Higher Education, one which recognises the scale of the changes happening in both music and education. Our new joint venture with Falmouth will support those committed to building a career in this field to acquire in depth and relevant knowledge from professionals and mentors combined with a truly creative educational experience which supports rather than hampers career development. Approached in this way, students are also respected and encouraged to take up opportunities with a flexible approach which is both responsive to change and resilient.”

By bruce.dickinson

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