CFA Creative Attributes Framework

5 Dec 2022, Shauna Kelly

CAF is a tool that can be used to support the planning and development of programmes in the creative arts and also empowers learners to connect the curriculum to professional practice.

The Creative Attributes Framework (CAF) can be used to:

  • support the design and development of classes, modules and programmes in the creative arts
  • help articulate and connect curriculum to professional practice
  • demonstrate how learners continuously develop and prepare for their professional careers.


We envisage this as an agile framework that can adapt to future needs, one that can nurture and empower our creative and cultural leaders.

Who can use it?

The CAF is intended as a flexible and responsive tool that is open to a diverse range of uses.


The CAF can be used by educators in the creative arts to support the planning, running and evaluation of their classes, modules, seminars, workshops and more.  Some educators may wish to use it with students to facilitate self-assessment or co-creation of learning. Other’s may wish to use it in a very personal way, as a touchstone they turn to sporadically in order to reflexively sense-check their teaching and learning activities. It can be used as a visual aide in modules – to explain to students how and why a module has been designed in a certain way, or used within a team of educators to map attributes across a programme.


The CAF also demonstrates the abilities and strengths that learners possess from studying a creative curriculum. These attributes are all transferable no matter the career path of the learner, and helps graduates connect the dots from the curriculum to professional practice.

CFA Creative Attributes Framework

How does it work?

Comprised of four master categories (Connect, Think, Do and Explore), the Creative Attributes Framework (CAF) describes twelve “attributes” of creative learners. As an interactive tool it supports educators to reflect on how they can support students to develop and refine these attributes through their teaching. It also lets learners engage with a reflective tool that allows them to see how their broad ranging skills ‘fit’ into the creative industries and beyond, improving learner confidence in their own ability to articulate their employability.


The CAF prompts educators and learners to choose which categories and attributes are most relevant to a planned class or module (e.g. “during this module my students/or I will primarily…. Connect and Explore”) and then allows them to play with attributes that will effectively support these activities. (e.g. “they/I will Connect by Making Public and Explore through Curiosity and Playfulness).


The CAF four master categories in detail are:


Seeking to know more, to understand; to be clear on the options we have, the choices we make, the decisions we take.
– Responsible – Taking account of context, values, ethics and sustainability; taking responsibility for our work.
– Reflexive – Purposeful, ongoing, critical reflection and understanding of the work and how it is delivered.
– Curiosity – Researching and building on relevant knowledge, seeking new perspectives; questioning, identifying what matters, to whom and why.


Confidence and readiness to show and share; to create networks and sustain connections with people, practice and with the world around us.
– Empathy – Listening to others with understanding; Awareness and sensitivity to wider contexts.
– Making Public – Sharing our work and our talents; storytelling; engaging others in ways that connect and inspire.
– Collaboration – Working well with others making space for diverse perspectives and co-creation; contributing and taking responsibility for our contribution.


Investing in imagining, the appetite to discover, the openness to learn, the self-belief to go further.
– Playful – Passion to play and explore, the confidence to trust instincts and experiment from new starting points.
– Agile – Ability to adapt, innovate, iterate and devise new approaches and solutions.
– Resilience – Navigate ambiguity and uncertainty, respond positively to obstacles and challenges, and embrace learnings that come from success and failure.


Working hard to make things happen for ourselves and for others.
– Skilful – Acquiring and mastering skills to explore, create, realise.
– Rigour – In the development and execution of creative processes and projects.
– Persistence – the initiative and hard work to make things happen; the resourcefulness to apply practical, commercial and workplace skills to execute creative projects.

Why and how was the CAF developed?

The Creative Attributes Framework (CAF) was developed to support academics in the development of modules and learning outcomes. It is intended as a device to help ensure that core attributes, required by creative practitioners are considered as part of the teaching and learning development process.


Creative Futures Academy engaged M-CO in 2021, to undertake research and facilitate a consultation process with key stakeholders, artists, creative and cultural organisations and industry experts to explore what a Creative Attributes Framework might encompass. This resulted in a report based with a series of recommendations and a draft framework. A sub-committee, comprised of three academic leads, each representing one of the CFA partner-institutions, was established to interrogate the findings and to finalise the attributes framework. The framework forms part of CFA’s pedagogic development practice, its use and effectiveness will be evaluated on an ongoing basis.


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