An interesting article by Nick Cohen in The Guardian today written in response to the opening of the film The Riot Club. The article asks if the “niceness” of the “Filthy. Rich. Spoilt. Rotten.” is a noose that is strangling our ability to talk to ourselves and to the world? Cohen remarks,
“No Premier League football club would give contracts only to children with private incomes and expect to remain in the premier league. The arts, broadcasting, serious journalism and publishing are coming dangerously close to doing just that, and its class-based culture is becoming a second-rate culture.”
Tragically, I suspect the answer is, yes it is.
I hadn’t realised quite how timely and topical my rant, Painting a sobering picture. What does the future hold for art education, art schools, and artists in the UK?, was until I read this article in The Guardian by Sean O’Hagan yesterday,
A working-class hero is something to be … but not in Britain’s posh culture.
“British culture was once open to ‘messy kids’ from secondary moderns. But if you want to make it in 21st century Britain, you’d best have a cut-glass accent and public school pedigree.”
Difficult to feel optimistic. Just hope and pray (not entirely sure who to) that there are politicians out there ready to reform before it’s too late, and the arts are, once again, the exclusive, unbalanced, elitist (and skewed with it), domain of the signet ring brigade. Let’s not allow the hard work of the last few generations to be unpicked. Let’s aspire to equal opportunities, that’s what makes Britain rich in the long run. The arts must be accessible to all, on every level. Just look to the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic games to see why – the arts are an intrinsic part of our make-up in the UK, and they’re such an enormous part of what makes Britain Great.
There’s a New Year’s resolution if ever there was one! Read the feature Let’s change the world for art students in 2014 by Shelly Asquith in the Guardian rallying students, teachers and artists to unite in order to reverse the setbacks suffered by art education…
“It sounds obvious, but creating work that communicates progressive ideas is the best way to influence our communities.”