“The moral freshness of the world-to-be intoxicated us. We were wrought up in ideas to be fought for. Yet when we achieved and a new world dawned the old men came out again and took our victory to remake it in the likeness of the former world they knew.”
Lord David Puttnum quotes TE Lawrence’s ‘The Seven Pillars of Wisdom’ at The White Pencil Symposium.
A year ago the threat to creative education was clear. Cuts in funding, fee increases and D&T deprioritised in schools. Now the situation is even worse.
You may have heard: the government is proposing new qualifications for 16 year old school students - the English Baccalaureate Certificates. Success in your Ebacc qualification will depend on achievement in subjects that the government deems worthy.
Guess which subjects aren't in there?
Now, I am not anti-science, -business, -engineering or -languages. But what astounds me is the complete dismissal of creativity as a vital component of a rounded education. Creative ability is key to gaining an understanding of the subjects that the government deems critical to the Ebacc. What is science without the ability to make intuitive leaps? What is engineering without invention and the mastery of materials? And who are the business leaders of tomorrow without entrepreneurial flair and innovation?
Stripping the arts from the Ebacc will wreak catastrophic consequences on the creative industry in this country and the UK economy. Our society depends on the development of skilled, dangerous minds, people who can challenge the norm to find new solutions to the problems we face today. Our design and advertising businesses rely on an influx of young people with knowledge of practical craft skills and the diverse learning to apply them. Businesses depend on the creative skills of their own employees and of their creative agencies to flourish.
Almost uniquely, the creative industry to which those agencies belong has demonstrated robust growth during the recession.
This country's core businesses no longer manufacture goods - they manufacture ideas. The UK is the creative capital of the world. But if we squander our economy's future on an education system based on dogma and nostalgia, rather than pragmatism and aspiration, we can kiss our reputation as the global centre of creative excellence goodbye.
In recent decades the world has undergone a real revolution as a direct result of the conjunction of great creativity and technological opportunity. As Lord Puttnum put it at the White Pencil Symposium:
“If we are to succeed as a country and a society… we need one absolute precondition … We need a brilliantly educated and brilliantly informed generation of young people. Because they are going to be navigating their way through a world of such complexity, such difficulty, such a group of unknowns out there that it is going to be bewildering.”
This is a sincere call to action from me Neville Brody, President of D&AD; Tim Lindsay, CEO; Dick Powell, our Chairman; and the whole Board of Trustees. Don’t let this government let the next generation down. Get involved – you can find guidance how to do so at includedesign and get advice on how to respond to the government's consultation document at bacc for the future.