Recently i met a young man and his family. He was clearly gifted and talented. The family were in awe of their son as he continued to dazzle people with his natural talent and passion for the arts. They were completely behind him in his pursuit for creativity and voiced their desire for him to follow his dreams. It was a wonderful and supportive situation to witness.
But it did make me think about his future and other young people like him as they progress through school, college and university.
What about the exclusion of the arts and creative subjects from the new English baccalaureate for secondary school children and how it is already impacting on young people?
What about young people who do not have this support system at home or school?
What happens to their dreams?
In the last year, i have visited a number of secondary school in the UK. On each occasion and for a number of different reasons i have seen a decline in the availability of creative subjects. Some young people have expressed concern about the course content while others have stated that the subjects that they are interested are simply not available to them any longer.
Put simply, those young people who wish to continue studying creative arts are having to reconsider their options and their dreams.
So, if we continue down this route where state schools are not afforded the opportunity to pursue creative subjects, will art degrees become the home of the wealthy?
Are they already?
Friends of mine who currently work as arts lecturers in universities in the UK have spoken to me about the social mix of young people in their lectures. We are already seeing a wide range of young people in terms of nationality at universities but art degrees are far less mixed in terms of class.
It is nothing new that working class families are less likely to access higher education but that those that do take part, the practical core subjects remain the favourite. I remember a friend of mine telling me that his parents would only allow him to go to study art at university if he trained to be a black cab driver on the side.
I don’t know, maybe it is sensible to always ensure that there is a safety net when there isn’t one at home.
I remember my career adviser suggesting that exploring hairdressing was a more realistic goal for me. Tongue firming in cheek this seemed like a ridiculous suggestion given my unruly locks but the reality is that those without that parental safety-net tend to opt for more vocational routes and MAYBE not their dreams. A great loss for all of us.