Creativity is an integral part of our culture – every iconic painting or photograph, every enchanting theatre or dance production, every technological development, was based on creativity. To relegate the performing arts to secondary subjects would be to ignore the direction in which cultural growth is progressing.
We are undeniably now living in a visual culture, surrounded by television, video games, Facebook, online articles – and must therefore appreciate the growing importance of this subject, as a crucial element to any marketing campaign.
We British have never shied away from attempting to astound the nation and even the world with our creative prowess: what better example of Britain’s creative capacity than the Opening Ceremony for the Olympics? No one can deny that Danny Boyle’s expertly executed show, watched by 900 million worldwide, perfectly demonstrated our ability to merge all aspects of society, as Shakespearean actor Kenneth Branagh strolled amongst the rising chimneys of the Industrial Revolution, dressed as Isambard Kingdom Brunel proclaiming Caliban’s speech from The Tempest, in a triumphant union of industry and literature.
Britain has clearly proved itself capable of producing immensely talented creative individuals – this should therefore be reason enough to continue to fund the arts in the curriculum. If we do not, we will be depriving our society of cultural variety. At the same time, although basic prowess can be taught, it is the individual and distinctive styles that make such valuable contributions to our culture, which arrive through inspiration and imagination rather than with a whiteboard and a classroom.
Whilst some therefore argue that those who show a genuine passion in the arts should develop this interest recreationally, I fear that arts subjects may flounder and wither away without the cultivating support from the curriculum – surely it is asking too much for the government to expect untaught geniuses to pop up like daisies. Parents would have to turn to private tuition in order to encourage their children’s interests. Do we really want a creative body that is dominated by the privately educated, an unobtainable dream for the underprivileged?
Surely the arts deserve as much credibility in a teaching environment as humanities or sciences; after all, if the government does not value them as educational subjects, the students themselves will not consider them to be valid career pursuits. Students generally find that the greater freedom that these subjects offer gives them more self-motivation, as well as encouraging them to develop their understanding rather than simply recalling facts for exams. These subjects also offer the less academically gifted a chance to excel, opening up possible career lines in theatre, music, marketing and other creative enterprises.
Besides, even if an education in the arts does not lead to a professional career for all students, it can still be hugely rewarding as an intellectual discipline; creative thinking is undoubtedly beneficial in any work environment. And if that doesn’t influence the government, surely the arts industry revenue of £9 billion is incentive enough to prevent it being marginalised?