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Yesterday I joined Growbiz in celebrating their 15th birthday.

I talked to a lot of new people about teaching English for Creative Industries. I received much interest and support, but a few misconceptions about my industry also came to light.

This blog explores why English for Creative Industries is not just ‘Business English for Artists‘ (a phrase that I use to explain what I do) – and why it’s so much more than vocabulary for artists.

This blog also celebrates getting a fresh perspective on your business statement, artist statement – or social media headline.

Some things really are too obvious to see yourself.


GrowBiz | 15 Years of Championing Rural Businesses

In case you don’t know, Growbiz is a local organisation with a big impact. It offers business support and unites networks within rural businesses – championing causes as a single voice.

One of their networks is Perthshire Artisans – a sales and promotional platform I’ve talked about on an earlier blog (see links below).

Growbiz has helped Blue Noun Language Hub in numerous ways.

Perhaps the very best thing about them is they don’t ever tell you what to do, but they listen and help YOU do what you need to do.

Everyone should have a Growbiz in their life!


“The words water and uphill sum up the journey of GrowBiz!… I don’t think there’s ever been a more successful or connected intervention to encourage entrepreneurship in the community than GrowBiz”

John Swinney MSP & Deputy First Minister for Scotland, June 2022


Professional Introductions & Networking

Last night’s networking event had inspirational people both on stage and around me.

It’s been over two years since I took part in a big networking event, during which time my core business has changed.

For the first time, I introduced myself at a business event as an English language coach, specialising in English for Creative Industries.

I explained that I run my own language school (and that we call it a hub). And that I’m currently developing an online course specifically for artists and designers.

English for Creative Industries?

I was surprised to learn that I had to break down further what I do to people not in the ESL industry or creative sectors.

(The majority of people I’ve chatted to recently are).

For example, someone understood my job as providing vocabulary to artists, which I countered quickly by describing it as more ‘Business English for Artists,’ which although is a pithy description, it’s not entirely accurate.

(No disrespect to anyone, by the way, last night was an excellent reminder to be clear and not to presume things are obvious).

What’s the Deal with Business English Anyway?

It’s funny that everyone gets ‘Business English’ immediately.

I think everyone can imagine an important deal going south because someone expressed themselves badly negotiating – everyone knows that international presentations have to be made, and that companies operate globally.

But artists are not alone in their garrets wondering what the English word for ‘paintbrush’ is.

(And if they are, they can Google it).

Artists Need English to Present Their Work

Artists represent themselves and their artwork whenever they show up, and they need language skills to do this.

The Grey Earl‘ AKA Jon Bishop, local artist & friend of Blue Noun Language Hub, (and Perthshire Artisans artist).

Business English for Artists

  • Just like business professionals, both artists and designers need specific formal language to present projects, pitch for commissions, work with contractors and apply for opportunities and jobs.
  • Just like business professionals and scientists, both artists and designers need to collaborate with international peers and share information, knowledge and ideas.
  • Also like the other two groups, artists and designers need a command of language that can be playful: they too need to hypothesise and experiment together (although there’s usually wine involved).
  • Similar to businesses, for artists social media is a commercial & professional space needing to be visible in. Unlike most businesses, artists and designers manage their social media profiles themselves. Unlike most business people, marketing on social media is a vital career skill: the more people you reach, the more your work is promoted – and the more sales and opportunities you have.

Love it or hate it, English is the Lingua Franca of the art world.

Libbie Scott, superb Perthshire landscape artist (and Perthshire Artisans artist)

English Learning for Artists, by design.


Ciara Gibson, Exhibition Catalogue, Birnam Arts

It’s horrendously difficult describing how you create – even in your first language.

Just imagine describing the artwork you make in a second language.

This is why, unlike Business English, there’s no ‘English for Artists Language Template.’

Everyone’s inspirations, processes and purposes are different – as well as the final output.

No one else can know what an artist needs to say – but at Blue Noun, we can help them say it.


English for Creative Industies | Growwbiz 15th Birthday event | key words

Inspired by the Best

Growbiz wouldn’t tell you what you should do – or how to run your business – Growbiz enables you to run your own business, yourself.

In a similar vein, Blue Noun’s coaching helps you learn the English skills you need – and empowers you to use them with confidence.

The way we coach English for creatives is not by translating what you already know into English, – but to learn about artmaking WITH the language and THROUGH the language, so you develop an English-speaking identity in your practice.

It’s not business English adapted: it’s English learning for artists, by design.

We Know How Artists Work

Just as you have developed skills in particular software, or using a sewing machine or a printing press or in casting metal. If you need to learn something to develop your practice – you do it. You absorb these skills into who you are as a creative – and how you make your work: they become part of your creative voice.

It’s time to learn English to develop your CAREER.

Who you are as an artist will also grow.

Look out for our Sketchbook English Online Course coming soon!

And remember, join our Newsletter for a FREE Monday Morning English lesson, resources and more!


Find out about Growbiz here

Love Libby Scott’s Work here

Buy Grey Earl cards and prints here

Read our blog about Why Perthshire is so full of great artists here