If you follow the trends on Twitter, you’ve probably seen that a job ad backed by the British government has recently sparked a huge backlash on social media. The poster shows a young ballet dancer, alongside the caption: “Fatima’s next job could be in cyber. (she just doesn’t know it yet), below the slogan “Rethink. Reskill. Reboot.” The reason the ad has been (rightly) criticized by the public is that it seems to denounce the cultural industry. Plus it appears at a time when the arts are facing a severe crisis. Because this isn’t the first (and will certainly not be the last) time this discussion is led, here’re my thoughts on why the arts matter.

The Arts encourage critical thinking

The Arts encourage us to think creatively and critically, to ask questions, to see things from the perspective of others. Texts, songs, paintings, they all invite us to find meaning in them. The best example of this might be literature. Books don’t speak for themselves, but it’s your job to connect plotlines, make sense of metaphors, or recognize underlying themes and motifs. Reading always also means thinking, analysing, interpreting.

If you think of a society without the arts, without cultivation and without ideas that come from the arts it will undoubtedly be a much less agreeable and much less civilised place, and I have no doubt whatever that we behave in a much better way because of the time we spend with the arts.

Sir John Tusa, British arts administrator, and radio and television journalist

The Arts challenge our perceptions

The arts have a huge cultural impact on what we think or believe in. They often hold up a mirror to society and help us see the world from different perspectives. They open up discussions about our moral standards and social values. They raise awareness about social, cultural or environmental issues. Ever wondered why in most dystopias books are banned? Reading means knowledge. And knowledge is power.

The Arts entertain us, comfort us, distract us

Especially in times like these, many people have turned to the arts for support. Reading books, watching movies, or listening to music are a form of escapism for many people. Let’s be honest, without the arts, most of us would stare at a blank wall at home.

Art offers tools for living – to console or delight or enrage or challenge or revitalise dulled perception. Art, above all, is a collaboration between artist and audience.

Hari Kunzru, Novelist

The arts connect us

The arts connect people within, but also between, cultures. They help us better understand and empathize with other people. They’re an important part of both individual and collective identity.

The arts are creative and emotional outlets

The arts allow us to be creative, to find new ways of communicating or transporting a message or emotion. A society without creative minds would ultimately be a brave new world.

“Civilisations are judged and remembered not by their most successful businessmen but by the art they leave behind”

–Kwame Kwai-Armah, Actor and playwright

I could probably go on here, but I think I’ve made my point clear. If you ever find yourself doubting why the arts matter, just imagine a society without them.

What do you think? Why do the arts matter? Let me know in the comment section below!


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15 thoughts on “Why the Arts Matter

  1. Yes! The arts matter! I can’t imagine a world without the arts. I find it sad that many people discount their importance. My daughter is studying film at one of the the biggest art colleges in Canada. I would never have dreamt of discouraging her from following her passion.

    As the world of work evolves, creativity is one of the last remaining things that can’t be automated. Maybe a creative arts education isn’t such a bad thing after all!

    Thank you for bringing awareness to this.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Let’s hope so! When she was deciding on her path for post secondary, she told me of so many friends whose parents forced them into programs “that would give them a better chance of getting a job” instead of letting them follow their passion. A huge mistake in my opinion. I want my kids to be happy first! I firmly believe if you’re passionate about what you do, success will follow.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post, and coming at such a critical time too for the Arts industry. There’s been a lot of coverage regarding the bigger theatres and arts venues but I really do worry for the smaller ones who rely on their local communities for their footfall and incomes.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is why I get anxious whenever I hear people talk about bringing career prep into schools in the U.S. “Career prep” almost always seems to be code for “STEM career prep,” as if jobs in the humanities aren’t worth having. It’s possible it might be more difficult to get a high-paying job in the humanities, but the importance of a job is not always indicated by its pay. People still love and appreciate the arts and I think we would all be living in a sadder world if all the ballerinas became computer scientists.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is a beautiful post to remind us of the importance of the arts. There are so many meanings behind artwork and writing, dancing and singing. All things creative have a purpose and lesson behind them. I love that arts connect, distract, and educate us as well as give us something to interpret in our own ways. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow, I didn’t hear about that ad. That’s horrible! The arts are so important, I agree. In a world where people are so tied to social media, the arts are a way to experience beauty in the real world. It’s a way to relieve stress and mental fatigue. It’s a pity more people don’t appreciate the arts anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally agree. I think those responsible for the ad should’ve spent the money supporting the arts instead of denouncing it. i think many people just take the Arts for granted but if you took them away, they’d realise how important they actually are.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. the arts matter so much!! they’re so important, and so beautiful for people to experience! i didn’t hear about the ad, but the government definitely shouldn’t have done that, because so many people already take the arts for granted, when they’re so needed in today’s world!!

    Liked by 1 person

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