Saving creatives' jobs in the UK
Joining nurses, teachers, and non profit workers in the swaths to be affected by this new policy are “creatives.”
I can understand why some may not initially view artists, musicians, and creative-discipline
educators as vital to society. Art and inspiration do not feed you, clothe you, or provide shelter. It's not seen as necessary for survival.
We at Play for Progress have direct experience of the arts-- in our case music-- being vital in sustaining hope, rebuilding emotional survival capabilities, and helping children of conflict on the path to healing.
(Blog continued below)
All of this work is done in the name of preparing the next generation to build a better world, and indeed those in the non-profit sector are willing to sacrifice adequate salaries for the higher cause. Other NGOs (War Child, Musicians Without Borders, Brass for Africa, Raw Music) speak similarly of the value they provide to those in need.
Art and music are the most direct and effective ways to experience the most human parts of us. It unites us, connects us, and encourages us to explore and celebrate our diversities. Countless reports cover the psychological, educational, emotional benefits of music and the arts.
Further, the arts encourage development, spark imagination, and indeed contribute massively to the economy. As detailed in a report published by Arts Council England, the "arts and culture sector is more than paying its way in the returns it brings to the Treasury. Every pound of public funding going to the Arts Council’s national portfolio organisations pays back £5 in tax contributions from the sector as a whole.”
"If the UK government doesn’t value highly skilled, economically and culturally enriching, tax-paying rule-following responsible citizens, what DOES it value?"
In fact, the Arts Council of England, a government programme itself, sums up the argument best:
"When we talk about the value of arts and culture, we should always start with the intrinsic – how arts and culture illuminate our inner lives and enrich our emotional world. This is what we cherish. But while we do not cherish arts and culture because of the impact on our social wellbeing and cohesion, our physical and mental health, our education system, our national status and our economy, they do confer these benefits and we need to show how important this is.
We need to be able to show this on different scales – on individual, communal and national levels – so that we can raise awareness among the public, across the cultural, educational and political sectors, and among those who influence investment in both the public and private sectors. We need this information to help people think of our arts and culture for what they are: a strategic national resource."
In summary, the government is playing a numbers game with human lives which will have serious repercussions not only on UK society itself, but on the global community. It is doing this for the sake of convenience and ease, delivering a simplistic response to a complex problem and playing on fear for support from the public. By taking this stance, the UK is telling the globe that the ability, skill, and value of a populous/person can only be measured through their annual income level.
Despite all logic and protest, the Home Office is holding stubbornly to the policy. Moreover, this
recalcitrance is exceptionally dangerous, particularly as we are experiencing the worst global refugee crisis we have ever seen. Given the state of the world, the professions that will be in great demandin years to come, as millions of traumatised communities seek refuge in neighbouring countries, will be just those emergency responders, educators, non-profit/social workers, and artists the UK Conservatives are so desperate to deport.
If the UK government doesn’t value highly skilled, economically and culturally enriching, tax-paying rule-following responsible citizens, what DOES it value?
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