Arts are everywhere in the UK. From our well-established national galleries to our well-humoured TV shows; they showcase our national talent, British humour and the skills of our creators. But recently, the arts may be at risk of being accessible only to the elite and the industry shut off to undiscovered creatives.
The Covid-19 bailout for the arts has only been announced with £1.57bn in emergency support. However, subsidies and continual support is not only needed to keep these establishments alive, but to nurture future talent.
Additionally, there is another threat to accessibility for the arts. State schools have proposed reducing the total number of GCSEs students are taking. Slashing art, music, design subjects to support working class students will be more damaging than helpful. As private schools continue to offer the usual 8+ subjects, their students will be exposed to more options and opportunities further down the line. For private schools, creative subjects aren’t regarded as a luxury; they are a part of normal education. Why isn’t this the same case for state schools? Why is there a preconception that less well-off students can do without these subjects?
The consequences for future creatives will be devastating. Many will not even have the opportunity to explore potential skills, talents and ability. National creativity will become more elitist and consistently less accessible. This cannot happen!
Many working-class creatives have become national treasures, but they could only achieve this through support and chances. One notable woman is Michaela Coel. She has recently produced and starred in her latest series ‘I May Destroy You’. She has described her upbringing on a council estate in east London, where her family would receive “a bag of shit through our letter-box”. For working class students — and especially working class, black and female students — being denied the exploration of creativity from an early age will be catastrophic.
“The lack of varied perspective among producers, the lack of misfits producing telly can have catastrophic consequences,” Michaela says. This is an issue which will not only affect one class, but will also have a knock-on effect on intersecting conditions. She endured racial slurs throughout her creative education and lamented the lack of possibilities and assistance for minorities in television. Yet, all of her shows have been highly regarded and her genius awarded.
If this industry is already punishing enough for women like Michaela, what will it be like in the future? There needs to be a call for MORE aid for younger, talented women of colour, not LESS. Creativity should be celebrated and highly considered. It shouldn’t be a luxury only the rich can indulge in. Without diversity, there will be a single perspective in our shows and our arts. Talented individuals may be overlooked whilst mediocrity is normalized and championed.
AUTHOR: Dila Yalman
Dila is an Intern at GGM UK. She is an aspiring journalist and currently studies Economics at the University of Edinburgh.
Dila writes and edits for her university's Economics Magazine, as well as for a start-up fashion magazine. She also regularly writes pieces ranging from academic critiques to political reports for her blog. Most of her writing reflects what she has personally encountered and tells the story of real people.
Dila is seeking to assert her journalistic voice while providing a voice for those who do not have one and this is what she aims to gain from her experience at GGM UK.