It's not a great time to be a creative person. Specialist arts teachers are in decline, artists are being priced out of their studios and it's claimed arts and culture is being "systematically removed from UK education system".
The arts and creativity is being squeezed out of schools even more as the government decides to scrap art history as an A-level subject.
The decision was made after former education secretary Michael Gove dismissed the subject as "soft". Even though IMO understanding of the origins of artefacts within specific world cultures can be pretty damn hard.
Exam boards in England that currently offer art history A-Level, a rich subject covering art themes from classical Greece to the late 20th century, will drop the subject from colleges and sixth-forms in 2018, according to reports.
The Association of Art Historians branded the decision "a significant loss of access to a range of cultures, artefacts and ideas for young people", a statement anyone who's been interested in the arts can agree with.
Art Historians are also warning that the subject drop will hinder work opportunities for young people. The added:
"Being able to signpost educational opportunities such as an A-level in art history to students who may never have considered this an opportunity, forms a significant part of our campaign work with partners across west Yorkshire, Bristol, Brighton and Sussex.
The loss of that A-level means that for many prospective students of the subject that door will close and future opportunities [will be] lost.”
AQA said it cancelled the subject due to "risks" in continuing it. The low number of students (only 839 sat the A-Level exam this summer) and the need for a large number of specialist options in assessment resulted in the scrapping of the A-Level.
Politics, history, social change, identity, theory, philosophy - all through lens of visual & material culture #WhyArtHistoryMatters— St Andrews Art Hist (@ArtHistoryStA) October 13, 2016
It's the new class war, as in classroom war: classics and art history OK for private school students but state school kids, hey why bother?— Simon Schama (@simon_schama) October 13, 2016
Blisteringly moronic decision and shows what a boring, unenlightened government we're stuck with https://t.co/bYD5Wdcm4a— Helen Nianias (@helennianias) October 13, 2016
I use what I learned about Art History at A Level & Degree EVERY SINGLE WEEK, PROFESSIONALLY, IN BUSINESS: https://t.co/bjHdCIVglW— Page 45 (@PageFortyFive) October 13, 2016
Art history graduates came forward to speak to the Guardian about the government's culling of creative subjects. One reader said: "The A-Level changed everything for me, opening up a world of history, philosophy and sociology in a really exciting way."
Another reader detailed the need for creativity as well as analytical skills, explaining:
"I'd like to know in what way History of Art is a 'soft' subject'... The fact that one needs creativity as well as fine-tuned analytical and interpretative skills means, as a subject, it requires more cognitive depth than the so-called 'hard' subjects, which one merely digests and regurgitates in an exam. I'd challenge anyone who finds physics or maths fairly straightforward to breeze through the course and get themselves an A-grade; a 'soft' subject it is not.
"I find it deeply disappointing that this course is not available at A' level any longer; very disappointing and very depressing. Philistinism has its hand at the wheel and its driving us off a cliff. This is a sad day."
Since coming into power, the Conservative Party has made multiple cuts to the arts sector and creative education. However, the arts actually fuel our economy – the creative industries generate £76.9bn annually in the UK. That's around £8.8million an hour and 5% of Britain's jobs. And yet the government perceives art as a "soft" subject...
The people in these so-called "hard" subjects who go on to be engineers, economics and developers still rely on those who've studied "soft" subjects. The stuff they're creating needs design and artwork made by creative people otherwise they won't have stuff to sell. Academic people – politicians like Gove included – still want to go to exhibitions, museums and participate in the art world in their spare time.
But if there's no more arts education, how are they going to do that?