This month we give special attention to concerns about the likely impact of new EBacc targets and to the forthcoming culture White Paper.
We also highlight new research findings on:
- The economic contribution of and employment in the creative industries across the world, in the EU and in the UK
- The impact of cultural spillovers
- The relationship between arts and health
- How consumers value products they feel are more genuine
- Local authority adult education ceramics teaching
- The importance of digital technology to arts and cultural organisations; and
- Culture in world cities.
and new announcements on:
- The Shadow Ministerial team
- Guidance on GCE AS and A level subject content for design and technology
- A new charter for the self-employed
- Northern Ireland’s ten-year strategy for the arts.
Note also that the Crafts Council's and Craft Innovation conference, Make:Shift takes place from 10 – 11 November 2016 at Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester for an action-packed two days exploring innovation through craft.
The Government is inviting views on how to achieve its goal that at least 90% of pupils in mainstream secondary schools will enter the EBacc. Pupils achieve the EBacc if they secure a good pass in GCSEs in English, mathematics, sciences, history or geography, and a language. The attainment measure will become the default option for most pupils.
The Crafts Council has expressed concern that a greater focus on EBacc entrants will result in a reduced priority for creative subjects, acknowledged to be a part of a broad and balanced curriculum.
Culture White Paper
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is preparing a White Paper for publication in the spring. In our response, the Crafts Council has made the case for strengthening the position of craft, highlighting:
- the unique cultural ecology in the UK of public investment, private philanthropy and commercial activity
- how makers help generate a sense of place, identity, community and belonging
- how craft makes a significant contribution to supply chains in particular places
- the robust R&D case for public investment in the arts and culture, which in turn drives commercial value
- the tremendous popularity of craft
- how craft education is now at serious risk, and
- how craft plays an important role in cultural diplomacy.
Our response also acknowledges the statements of support made by the Chancellor, George Osborne in his Comprehensive Spending Review announcement and other recent speeches for the value of investment in the arts.
The Prime Minister has also expressed support for arts and culture in a recent speech on life chances, saying, “Britain is blessed with some of the most awe-inspiring cultural treasures on the planet ... culture should never be a privilege; it is a birth right that belongs to us all.” A new Life Chances Strategy is to address cultural disenfranchisement.
But the Creative Industries Federation has drawn attention to how the leading position is in jeopardy. A new emphasis on creative thinking among foreign competitors has underlined a growing threat to Britain’s worldwide standing in the arts. While schools are being urged to concentrate on maths and science, much of the rest of the developed world is embarking on an “arts race” for soft diplomatic power and creative status.
There’s a wealth of new research on:
- The First Global Map of Cultural and Creative Industries shows that the cultural and creative industries account for 3% of world GDP and employ 29.5 million people. And a Comparative Analysis of Creative Economy Employment in the EU and UK shows that the creative industries employ 11.4 million people in the EU, accounting for 5 per cent of the EU workforce. The UK accounts for 14 per cent of the total EU workforce but a fifth of all creative industry jobs. Employment in the UK’s creative industries grew three times faster in the UK than in the EU as a whole.
- DCMS Economic Estimates 2016 show the craft sector is growing. The DCMS figure for craft GVA has increased from £135m in 2013 to £288m in 2014 – an increase of 113%, and from £195m in 2008 to £288m in 2014, an increase of 48%. However, DCMS acknowledge that ‘this is likely to be a significant under-estimate of the scale of the true crafts industry’, referring to the Crafts Council’s Measuring the Craft Economy. Our research shows that craft skills contribute £3.4bn to the UK economy.
- DCMS’ Taking Part data for 2015/16 Quarter 2 show that since 2005/06, there has been a significant increase in arts engagement in the North West of England (from 71.5 per cent to 76.9 per cent). Engagement in all other regions has remained at a similar rate to 2005/06.
- Equality, Diversity and the Creative Case – A data report 2012-2015, a new report from Arts Council England, reveals a slow increase in numbers of Black and minority ethnic staff and a slight increase in the number of disabled people working in National Portfolio Organisations.
A new Sport England survey is to sit alongside Taking Part. It will collect data on people's leisure activities, including culture, but will not breakdown figures into different art forms such as craft.
And also on statistics - the Independent Review of UK Economic Statistics Interim report looks at future needs and the effectiveness of current data. We highlighted the importance of gathering data on microbusinesses, particularly those under the VAT threshold, in our response and were pleased to see the recommendation that ONS needs to become more agile in the provision of statistics that properly reflect the changing structure and characteristics of the economy.
A report from a European consortium including Arts Council England on cultural and creative spillovers in Europe shows how culture-led regeneration has a positive impact, cross-fertilisation occurs between commercial and non-commercial sectors and that spillovers play a role in boosting uptake of new technology.
Look out in the spring for a new Crafts Council report on innovation and craft spillovers.
- Researchers from the University Hospital Erlangen and Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nürnberg have found that producing art can cause neural and psychological changes in our brains. They found that the participants who produced art showed increased brain activity in the areas associated with self-awareness and memory processing and showed signs of becoming better able to adapt to stress and adversity.
- Advice and resources to help arts and health professionals conduct evaluations is now available through Arts for Health, a research programme to evaluate the long-term relationship between arts participation and physical/psychological health.
- Ogilvy Labs highlight research from Stanford Graduate School that shows that consumers value more highly those products they feel are more genuine as opposed to mass-produced. This echoes findings in the Journal of Marketing demonstrating a clear preference for handmade when purchasing a gift for a friend or a loved one, with many prepared to pay up to 17% more.
- Jill Rutter’s survey shows that around a third (75) of local authority adult education services offer ceramics teaching. The survey shows that there are large swathes of Britain where there is no easy access to classes. The survey complements findings in the Crafts Councils Studying Craft series – our next iteration, Studying Craft 16, will be available in June.
- Nesta has surveyed how arts and cultural organisations in England use technology. Findings show that while digital technology remains of high importance to arts and cultural organisations, it may have waned in other areas. Seven factsheets highlight key findings.
- In the World Cities Culture Report 2015 Mayor of London Boris Johnson has called on cities internationally to work together to support and nurture culture and creativity.
- Maria Eagle, MP for Garston and Halewood and Thangam Debbonaire, MP for Bristol West, have been appointed as Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State and Minister for Culture, Media and Sport.
- Guidance on GCE AS and A level subject content for design and technology has now been published for teaching in schools from 2017.
- The RSA has launched a Charter for the Self-employed. It contains eight practical policy ideas to improve the living standards of people who work for themselves, including introducing automated saving schemes and establishing a new form of pension auto-enrolment.
- Northern Ireland’s Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure is consulting on ten-year strategy for the arts that will show how arts play a role in the ‘cohesive community’ agenda.
Note also that Make:Shift returns from 10 – 11 November 2016 at Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester for an action-packed two days exploring innovation through craft. Building on the success of 2014’s sell-out conference, Make:Shift will look at craft innovation in robotics, smart materials, bio design, wearables and more. We’ll investigate its impact on sustainability, healthcare and wellbeing and social innovation.
Join a wealth of makers, researchers, technologists, scientists, engineers and manufacturers to share ideas and inspiration about the future of making.