Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Why arts and culture matter in a recession?

PUNCH & JUDY | Ink on Paper/ CGI | June 2011 | Adam Grose

Since the financial collapse of 2008[1] and its domino effect upon the global stage we have witnessed the gradual decline in funding for the arts and culture in many areas[2].  However, these changes have not stopped creative people from finding new avenues of revenue, seeking and sharing opportunities and expanding the scope of arts and culture through the Internet, crowd-sharing and social networks[3].
  Governments impose tougher budgetary cuts in funding for organisations, education institutions and health etc...; changing strategies with the removal of arts from the proposed Baccalaureate; enforcing expectant grade guidelines for educational institutions for GCSE and A level examinations and schools considered as ‘failing’ are turned into Academies[4].  Yet the idea of one standard form of homogenised education for all is failing the diverse nature of Britons and its inventiveness.  How can an old ‘system’ from the Enlightenment cope with changes happening in a post-industrial and post-digital society that is on the rise?
  Our British inventiveness by thinking creatively and accessing fully funded educational projects brings people from all ages and backgrounds together.  Sharing views, ideas and forming new bonds through the creative industries: music, art, film, theatre and the written word.  The Conservative government’s funding cuts, capping wages and benefits by 1%; cutting services and stemming the growth of cultural institutions which emancipate people through creative thinking, constricts Britain’s future growth and its future entrepreneurs.  In a contemporary society where, as reported by Oxfam[5], the richest 1% of society could solve the world’s problems four times over and reiterated by Frances O’Grady, TUC General Secretary, in response to tax cuts for the rich says ‘...the rich tend to save or shove it off to tax havens...’[6] scuppering investment in local communities, restricting localised culture and small business growth.
  Arts and culture are investments for the future.  Every individual, regardless of individual economic status, learns skills through arts projects.  In Mali[7] music and culture opens hearts and discourse, revealing moments and sharing visions from others through a cultural education.  Culture endows a foundation, forming critical questioning about what and where we are as a species, creating new trajectories and possibilities that free us, expanding horizons away from those who wish to restrict our potential through old ‘ways of seeing’, that have no place in our contemporary international community today.

1           The Observer, (28th Dec 2008).  ‘Three Weeks that changed the World’, [on-line] available from http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2008/dec/28/markets-credit-crunch-banking-2008 [accessed 24th Jan 2013]

2           The Guardian, Editor’s Picks.  [on-line] available from  
http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/arts-funding  Culture: Arts Funding. [accessed 20th Jan 2013]

3           BBC News, Mike Wendling, (23rd August 2012).  ‘Crowdfunding start-ups show how to side step Bank Loans’, Business [on-line] available from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-19286163 [accessed 24th Jan 2013]

4            Department for Education, (01st Sept 2010 ). ‘142 schools convert to academy status weeks after Academies Act passed’, News and press notices [on-line] available from http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/inthenews/a0064203/142-schools-to-convert-to-academy-status-weeks-after-academies-act-passed [accessed 23rd August 2013]

5            Oxfam International. (19th Jan 2013). ‘The cost of inequality: how wealth and income extremes hurt us all’, Press Room [on-line] available from http://www.oxfam.org/en/pressroom/pressrelease/2013-01-19/annual-income-richest-100-people-enough-end-global-poverty-four-times [accessed 24th Jan 2013] 

6             Newsnight, Frances O’Grady. (2013). Interview. In: Newsnight, BBC2, 25th Jan. 2230 hrs.  [on-line] available from http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01q9bct/Newsnight_25_01_2013/

7             Newsnight, Fatoumata Diawara. (2013). Interview. In: Newsnight, BBC2, 25th Jan. 2230 hrs.  [on-line] available from http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01q9bct/Newsnight_25_01_2013/