Cuts to the arts are short-sighted and degrading

Students celebrate their graduation ceremony for Norwich University of the Arts at St Andrews Hall in 2018.

Students celebrate their graduation ceremony for Norwich University of the Arts at St Andrews Hall in 2018. - Credit: Simon Finlay

Another blow to the arts, another dig at a sector seemingly so undervalued, yet wildly important to our happiness.

Earlier this week, The Guardian reported their learning that the Government is considering lowering the number of students studying the creative arts as part of a handful of degrees yielding lower salary returns. 

Put simply, those degrees which turn out graduates unlikely to ever pay back their loans, could soon take on fewer applicants, and that heavily features the arts.

This boasts the question, if it is purely a case of money, why should creative graduates rarely earn enough to pay back their loans? Why, in an industry so vitally important to our wellbeing, be so underfunded? Why are creatives often underpaid and disrespected for their work?

I have a Bachelor of Arts in Photography. This is just as valid a degree as my sister's Bachelor of Science (see me after if you disagree), but this latest government blow to the arts pushes the idea that having a creative degree is less valued, less respectable, less work.

As artist Simone Brewster states perfectly on Instagram: "as if we don't learn the same life skills that can be translated to other jobs such as how to write a dissertation, how to do research, how to present ideas and think as an individual, how to manage time and multi task to reach a required deadline, how to respond to a brief, how to communicate ideas... The list goes on."

This comes after the blow that the government is set to be cutting funding for arts education by around 50%, a huge threat to art courses in universities. 

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At this point, I'd like to state that the creative industries are thought to be worth around £111bn a year to the UK economy. 

So, Mr Williamson, who designed your shoes? Your suit? Who made them? Who composed the music you listened to on the train? Who designed those headphones? Who took the pictures for that latest government campaign? Who designed the poster? Who made and starred in that film you put on the TV last night? The list goes on, and all of this, all of these talented people, came through arts education. 

It really goes without saying, that more cuts made at education level, means fewer creatives down the line, means a deficit of creative arts within society and everyone suffers, creative or not. 

In my opinion, arts and mental health go perfectly hand-in-hand like salt and pepper, so let's start supporting the things which bring happiness, entertainment, colour to our lives.

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