I posted this on Facebook this week after hearing about the likelihood that Rufford Crafts Centre in Nottingham is to close and with it the wonderful event of Earth and Fire which draws exhibitors from across Europe each year. Following hot on the heels of that news was the closing of the Contemporary Crafts degree at Falmouth University. These both in the week where our ‘Education Secretary’ has warned young people that choosing to study arts subjects at school could “hold them back for the rest of their lives”. Ah such wonderfully rounded thinking, I know lets churn out millions of identikit thinking people, that’ll give the government less to worry about, people that all think in the same way about the same things should make their job easier. Anyway I thought it would be good to share it here as it had such a strong response.
So apparently crafts courses can be scrapped because they have a ‘relatively low graduate employability rate’ and because ‘arts subjects limit career choices’.
So who is going to wow the world with their visions and make the country stop and reflect as the poppies at the Tower of London by Paul Cummins Ceramics have done this last month or so if we stop helping people learn these things?
Who is going to make someone a mug that will enhance their daily life by handling something that gives them pleasure, comfort and enjoyment?
Currently thousands of us are self employed, making our livings by creating things, be they craft objects, fine art, music. These are all essentially skills of crafting, of creating something. These are all skills that need dedicated time and space to learn and develop. They do not happen over night. They are important to our world, to our culture, to our lives.
I wish I had the figures for how many people are self employed through creative industries. Even here, just in this corner of Scotland, this area with relatively low population, our open studio event this year, Spring Fling, over three days in May brought over 1.4 million pounds into the local economy. It was arts and crafts that brought all those people here to spend that money, money spent in studios but also in cafes, hotels, etc. The creative industries contribute to so much in our country. We may most of us be individuals working away quietly in sheds and barns and back rooms but together we are more than the sum of our parts. We are a huge force. We are important.
Maybe that’s why creativity is being culled, we are a force, and as the quote says (accurate attribution unknown by me) ‘Beware of artists. They mix with all classes of society and are therefore most dangerous.’