Political Artistry

I think I realised I was properly grown-up this year. It wasn't the big birthday, or the full-time job, or even sorting out a pension (!) that brought me to this conclusion. It was the Referendum. Over the past few months I have taken an active interest in politics, foregoing the usual banality of late-night comedy television shows to watch debates and conferences, and opting to have BBC News as my background while working as opposed to the usual cycle of Disney movies.

Image Source: disney.wikia.com

Obviously what everyone wants to know is how their choice will affect their specific bugbear, be that education, trade, the job market, pensions or immigration. For me it's the arts and culture, and from what I've seen and heard so far, there's been nary a peep about this from the main figures involved on either side.*

Part of me is quite surprised about this, given that the creative industries contribute billions each year to the UK economy, and help support other industries such as leisure and tourism. However, another part of me isn't surprised in the least, given that a lot of what people think of as the arts is considered to be quite elitist and inaccessible.

Image Source: thephoenixnewspaper.com

So I was delighted to come across a manifesto of sorts from the National Campaign for the Arts. As a charity they state it would be inappropriate for them to express an opinion either way, but the article certainly made for some interesting considerations.

Creative Europe funds hundreds of enterprises here in the UK, and many more European organisations have their headquarters or management offices here too. If we were to leave the EU, where would that funding come from? It's all well and good to suggest that we'd save money by not sending it to Brussels each year, but I think that small cultural companies would be way down the list of things to fund, and I'm not convinced that even the Arts Councils would be massive beneficiaries of any extra money that may suddenly become available.
Those European companies which have bases here would probably have to leave in order to continue to receive Creative Europe funding. It's hard enough to secure European grants as it is without having their main offices in a country which is no longer part of Europe.
It is possible that the UK could negotiate to remain as part of Creative Europe, but I doubt we'd get particularly favourable terms if we did.

Thanks to unrestricted movement throughout Europe, the UK benefits massively from European expertise and talent in the arts. Again, it's possible that this would continue but I think there would be a lot more bureaucracy involved along with higher costs across the board which would make international transfer incredibly time consuming and costly, putting off smaller companies or non-profit organisations. I doubt that events such as the London International Mime Festival or CircusFest would be sustainable under these circumstances.

This free movement also extends to training - many people I know have attended courses, classes, festivals and events in Europe which has enabled them to improve their skills and professional network. Again, I don't think this would stop entirely if we were to leave Europe, but I think it would become a lot more complicated and cost a lot more.

Image Source: theguardian.com

From this you can probably tell which side I'm coming down on. These aren't the only reasons, just the ones that are pertinent to my specific area of work and interest. I have been following debates and considered all of the arguments, and I will continue to listen and consider until I make my mark on that slip of paper on the 23rd June. I have heard compelling arguments from both sides, and there will probably be more in the days to come, but in the end this is a personal choice - everyone has to vote according to their conscience, but everyone also has to seriously think about the pros and cons either way.

This. This quote.

I don't think we should leave the EU. For the reasons above and for dozens more. It's easier to work with the person sat next to you than the person on the other side of the room, regardless of whether the person on the other side of the room is the popular kid or the class bully. I believe we need to build bridges, not burn them, and work together rather than shut ourselves away. And the best advice I heard throughout the whole saga has been that if you're unsure, vote to remain. We can always call another referendum in another couple of years, but once we're out, that door is locked and we'll have thrown away the key.

* I may be wrong about this, however, and I'm happy to be corrected!


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