The insightful 2015 report ‘Enriching Britain: Culture, Creativity and Growth’ found a positive correlation between well-being, economic growth and the Arts. You can read the report in detail here.
Alternately, here’s an important quote from the paper:
“There are barriers and inequalities in Britain today that prevent [a cultural education] from being a universal human right. This is bad for business and bad for society.”
The Cultural and Creative Industries are the fastest growing industry in the UK. In a time of economic disquiet, you would think that this would mean plunging more energy into the greatest economic assets. Sadly, this isn’t the case, as creative institutions and departments face a harsh economic climate, with little or no support.
How influential are they in the UK’s economy? Well, the Gross Value Added of the sector was estimated as £76.9 billion in 2013 by the Department for Media, Culture and Sport. Besides which, British music, film, television, theatre and video games are recognised as being world class. So it’s obviously an industry worth investing in.
Interestingly, the report emphasises the need for diversity in this important economic sector. Here’s another great quote: “Diversity…is essential to the expressive richness and the economic and social prosperity of the ecosystem. It is a mistake to think that the under-representation of Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) individuals, women, deaf and disabled people and low-income groups in the Cultural and Creative Industries is purely a social justice issue.” So if society doesn’t provide these individuals with access to the arts, the Cultural and Creative Industries are going to start flagging. Innovative, new voices can’t be heard if they don’t have a platform.
This isn’t a new concept. John Ruskin famously championed the idea that everyone should have access to the Arts, and he talked about the Arts having positive effects on people’s mental wellbeing. But beyond that, it seems obvious that if we want the Arts – everywhere, not just in the UK – to grow and flourish, to evolve into new modes of expression, then we need to diversify the talent pool. We need to provide that platform for new voices.
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