In addition to a note on the EU referendum, we focus this month on:
- other parliamentary news affecting arts and culture
- declining GCSE entries in creative subjects
- the latest stats on jobs, diversity and exports
- new policy developments in entrepreneurship, and
- new museums sector research.
- Following the EU referendum, Arts Council England says that as the government develops its response and determines how preparations to leave the EU will begin, ACE will work with departments across government to ensure the views and concerns of the arts and culture sector are heard. The Creative Industries Federation has pledged to play a positive role in safeguarding the future of the UK’s arts, creative industries and cultural education and their significant contribution to the economy. The Crafts Council will be working closely with both organisations as the implications of the referendum decision become clearer for craft and the wider arts sector. Our Executive Director, Rosy Greenlees is currently attending the European General Assembly of the World Crafts Council and will be discussing future priorities with our European colleagues.
In preparation for the referendum, the Crafts Council conducted a survey of makers’ thoughts about the impact of EU membership on craft. In the responses questions were raised by makers about possible changes to how they import and export materials and whether insurance premiums would increase in the event of the UK leaving the EU. There were also queries about a possible reduction in health and safety regulations. While nearly 40% of respondents had enjoyed opportunities to show or sell work in Europe, the rest had not experienced this. A slightly smaller percentage had benefited from an EU-funded arts project or business development programme. The majority of respondents were not members of any European organisations.
- Thangam Debbonaire MP (still Shadow Minister for arts and culture at the time of writing) has outlined the six themes she will be working on, including cultural education for all.
- Paul Givan has been appointed as Minister for Communities in the Northern Ireland Assembly. His remit covers arts infrastructure and strategy and the creative industries.
- The Higher Education and Research Bill 2016-17 has started its passage through parliament. A factsheet describes the government’s intention to deliver greater competition and choice. A new regulator, the Office for Students, is to be set up, as well as a single research council.
- Analysis by Arts Professional of the figures for GCSE and A Level entrants in arts subjects shows a dramatic decline. Entries for GCSEs in arts subjects (art and design subjects, design and technology, drama, media film and TV studies, music, and performing/expressive arts) have fallen by 46,000 this year compared with last. The total number of GCSE entries in all subjects this year has grown by 0.3%, but over the same period, exam entries for arts subjects have fallen by 8%. The Crafts Council’s Studying Craft 2 report showed a 25% drop in craft-related subjects at Key Stage 4 between 2007/08 and 2012/13. Studying Craft 16, to be published in September, will include analysis of figures up to and including 2014/15 results.
- DCMS has published figures on the number of jobs in the creative industries alongside the value of exports from the UK Creative Industries. The figures show there were 1.9 million jobs in the creative industries and 2.9 million in the creative economy last year. The Crafts Council is working with DCMS officials to improve official figures for craft, currently based on partial estimates. Our report, Measuring the Craft Economy, demonstrates that in total craft is worth £3.4bn to the economy and employs 150,000 people.
- DCMS also published its findings and proposed developments, following consultation on the Creative Industries Economic Estimates. DCMS is proposing seven areas for development, including further work to address under-coverage of microbusinesses in the estimates. The Crafts Council response urged DCMS to explore this issue, in view of the 88% of makers who are sole traders.
- Citing the renewed voice of craft in current debates about creativity and the future of work, Nesta proposes, in a new report on creative industries policy, that government should publish official statistics which allow both cultural and creative activity to be taken fully into account, opening the way for more effective cultural and economy policy.
- A Microsoft report on the maker movement echoes Crafts Council calls for government to measure the contribution of the UK maker movement in economic statistics and indicators and to increase international trade missions, urging large corporates to open up space to makers. (Note this report requires sign in.)
- A new All Party Parliamentary Group on Entrepreneurship will focus on four policy areas - tax reform, exporting, enterprise education and female entrepreneurship. And an article in the Financial Times argues for a stronger policy focus on scaling up existing businesses, rather than on start-ups.
- A new Nesta report finds that firms that deploy STEM and art and design skills (STEAM) experience faster employment and sales growth than STEM firms.
- The V&A museum is to launch a new research institute to enhance access to the V&A's collections and develop new approaches to research, training, display and interpretation.
- New guidelines from the Network of European Museum Organisations propose strategies to help museums and galleries rise to the challenge of integrating migrants and refugees into society.