MANY YEARS COMING
It's several decades now since Sir Ken Robinson reported on creativity, culture and education when he was at Warwick University before he emigrated to LA, his TED talk has since been watched by 28 million people and we kicked off a storm in our own tea cup when we observed the UK's Creativity Crisis on the week Apple's Jony Ive came to town and took a STEAM Co. Inspirator invitation back to California, but the icing on the cake came today:
The Warwick Commission (The University of Warwick) published a report today on the Future of Cultural Values. A vague title but its content and findings are pretty explosive and the headlines from The Guardian and the BBC speak for themselves.
'Arts and culture being 'systematically removed from UK education system'
'Creativity and culture not open to all, review finds'
Arts and creativity 'squeezed out of schools'
Cultural experiences and opportunities were being closed off to youngsters, especially those from poor backgrounds'
Warwick's page summarises the report perfectly:
"The Commission’s analysis throws down a sharp challenge to all those who value how culture enriches people’s lives and makes a range of recommendations as to how we can ensure everyone has access to a rich cultural education and the opportunity to live a creative life.”
Bad for business and bad for society
Vikki Heywood, chairperson of the RSA and who chaired the 12-month commission inquiry, said that the government and the cultural and creative industries needed to take a “united and coherent” approach “that guarantees equal access for everyone to a rich cultural education and the opportunity to live a creative life”.
She added: “There are barriers and inequalities in Britain today that prevent this from being a universal human right. This is bad for business and bad for society.”
The report notes that in the amateur arts sector, only 2% of participants are from a black, Asian or minority ethnic background.
Are STEAM Co. helping bridge this gap?
Look how a trip to Tate Modern inspired a creativity activity acreated and delivered by parents at a STEAM Co. Day in an inner city school.
This could be ANY primary school in the UK, not just one down the road from Tate Modern in Southwark or the catchment area of a theatre or a museum or an art college.
It's not hard, if only a tiny fraction of the cost of staging these shows was ear marked not just for some content on their website but to package up an element that could go into the STEAM Co. activity library, every child in the UK could benefit. And maybe even be inspired to visit the real show, if they could afford it.
We want to build bridges like this between every arts, science gallery and institution and every primary in the UK via activities on STEAM Co. Days. Let's take this inspiration to the people to inspire the people (and children). Let's enrich everyone's lives with creativity in all its forms.
For this reason we support The RSA's Power to Create strategy to empower people to be active participants in creating a world we want to live in and are delighted to be working with them.
TWO CRITICAL THEMES
Sir Peter Bazalgette, the chairman of Arts Council England, said: “Two critical themes leap out of this welcome report – the importance of improving access to the arts, and that culture and the creative industries are one entity.
"Duty of any government to bridge this divide"
Among those welcoming the report was the director Richard Eyre. He said: “The ‘choice’ of going to the theatre or the opera or an art gallery is a choice that doesn’t exist for vast numbers of people in this country who, if they feel anything at all about art, feel disenfranchised.
“This distinction – between those who enjoy the arts and those who feel excluded from them – amounts to an absolute divide. It should be the duty of any government to bridge this divide, by embracing the departments of culture and of education and investing in the audiences of the future as well as the artists.
“This important report makes an irrefutable argument for creating a coherent government policy for encouraging all aspects of the arts.”
Does this graph from Nesta give any hints as to that divide?