In response to the Government’s confirmed funding cuts to university arts courses in England, Professor Simon Kirchin, Director of the University’s Division of Arts and Humanities, and Professor Catherine Richardson, Director of the Institute of Cultural and Creative Industries, said:
‘We read the Government’s announcement with disappointment, frustration and anger. The arts are, and will remain, an important part of the University’s teaching and our cultural life. We have invested heavily in our academic provision across many years, most recently through our establishment of the Institute of Cultural and Creative Industries, and we are fully committed to ensuring that our region continues to grow as an artistic and creative hub for the benefit of all.
‘The Creative Industries contributed £116bn in GVA in 2019 and supports 1 in every 16 jobs (DCMS 2019). That’s a success that is built upon a world-leading national arts education that trains creative, entrepreneurial graduates. We need to maintain the talent pipeline to secure our world-leading position in this sector – it’s an area the Government should be building up and diversifying, rather than cutting back.
‘We receive large and growing interest in our arts programmes from prospective students and partners, including local schools and arts organisations. Our teaching and research staff, as well as students from our arts programmes, have worked for the benefit of many – from children with autism and adults with dementia to our heritage economy. Working in these areas, we see very clearly the fundamental interdependency of art and design and digital technology, of science and creativity, in protecting the workforce against automation and producing the jobs of the future.
‘Work in the sciences and in medicine benefit greatly from the perspectives of those working in the arts, and vice versa. The Covid-19 pandemic shows how many of us need the arts as part of our everyday lives: to think, to explore and to feel connected. We are determined to grow those opportunities for our communities. Our Gulbenkian Arts Centre is a very important destination for visitors, touring companies and performers from the UK and abroad, making a significant contribution to the economic and cultural life of the region and ensuring that Kent’s profile is raised far and wide.’