‘Arts subjects limit careers choices’

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.’

Image: Paul Cummins making ceramic poppies for the installation ‘Blood Swept Lands and Sees of Red’ that has entranced the country over the last few weeks.

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5 Responses to ‘Arts subjects limit careers choices’

  1. Dennis Allen says:

    The world is a better place with you and Doug doing what you do. Couldn’t imagine you being a clerk grading drivers license exams for a living.

  2. Bryan Ansell says:

    Indeed. To add another quote (Wilde, this time) those who make these decisions are uniformly grey people who ‘know the price of everything and the value of nothing’. It can be depressing, if you let it be. To some extent, it is only in the UK (at least, within Europe) that such ignorance holds sway – things are still positive over here on the mainland.

  3. Tracey says:

    Well said Haanah! I only wish people would support artists financially as well as appreciating the viewing of the art. So many people go out and look at art as if they were strolling through museums or galleries, love it, appreciate it, but don’t buy anything…..

  4. Gerard Molenaar says:

    These are indeed harsh times. They are also occurring in our little corner of the Netherlands. This is due to the economie crises and the cut downs in the local budgets. Prioriteit are everywhere but not, never ever, in the fields of cultural education, music, arts and crafts. Als a humble potter I am struggling as well for quite some time to find a platform for my werk, while local and regional provisions are shutting down and galleries are closing doors. Zo we are banned to markets and fancy fairs. I fully agree with the people above and with you guys, Hannah and Doug.
    Greetings from Drenthe, Westerbork, Netherlands

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