Coming to theatres near you, a new horror movie of sorts. Featuring Brexit zombies who crave only one thing; the brain of the United Kingdom. It’s called Dawn of Uncertainty and sure enough, as every second passes you will become nervous, terrified and sceptical of the future our people face. Now I’m no political expert; far from it, but there are two things I do know. The first is that we are definitely in the process to leave, no matter what happens and no matter how close the final result was, the leave side were victorious. We must respect those who decided upon this and no matter how frightening it may seem, we must work as a community instead of declaring a civil war of total division. The second is that art an entity that promotes freedom and the destruction of binary oppositions, an entity that thrives within partnerships. Unfortunately, the beloved industry is threatened by our decision to leave the European Union, nothing is certain of course but over the next few years, the arts industry could face a few set-backs.
art is…an entity that thrives within partnerships.
In economic terms, the UK’s arts industry provides £84.1 billion to our economy each year (gov.uk) and with an abundance of artists, musicians, film makers and actors there is no doubt that Britain has got talent, but underlying this is the role the EU has upon such an industry. For example, the EU is Britain’s second largest export market for music, thereby showing how much power the EU possesses on the success of our industries. The popularity of British culture suggests that this will not perish immediately, but the hostility created from our departure could affect an European perspective of the British Isles. Not to blacken the Leave movement but there are definitely dark clouds of racism and xenophobia associated with their campaign.
Additionally, such hostility has other repercussions. Many sectors of the arts industry use multiculturalism and diversity gained from the EU to their advantage. Both London’s Sadler’s Wells and Hallé Orchestra have emphasised the importance of bringing in foreign talent. It bestows something new and refreshing; art is not meant to be stagnant. Orchestras have reawakened primarily due to the invigorating introduction of overseas talent. Leaving the EU complicates such innovation, it leads to the laborious madness of visas and work permits. Although not perfect, paperwork at present is less complex whilst being a member of the EU. If new talent ceases to come forward or at the very least declines interest, we could see a potential reduction in numerous sectors of the arts industry as our once forward thinking, progressive nation takes on a seemingly cold, unwelcoming appearance. Art is an ever changing space in which culture and diversity are encouraged. Without this, the British art industry may start to fade which could affect both our economy and the social welfare of the people. Statistics from the Arts Council suggest an improved sense of community and a lack of social isolation due to the promotion of arts and culture, there is no doubt about the importance of this industry.
Art is an ever changing space in which culture and diversity are encouraged. Without this, the British art industry may start to fade.
Linking on from economics, there is the importance of the Creative Europe Fund. Admittedly only created in 2014, it still offers the opportunity for members to expand their creative horizons and develop projects which as demonstrated by the above figure can lead to benefits for the economy. There is a key word in this though, ‘member’. By leaving we lose access to this fund and new potential talent could go unnoticed as a Brexit government chooses instead to focus on forcing our diverse country to become the imperialistic power it once was. The Leave campaign continually emphasised that the EU needs us, it will come crawling back to us, salivating at the mouth for our trade, our culture. But there is no guarantee of this, there is no guarantee that we will regain certain deals, certain funding and that is certainly worrisome for the arts sector; a sector which may not gain priority under a Brexit government. Another example of such vital funding is the European Capital of Culture. Thanks to both governmental and EU funding, Liverpool was able to blossom into a cultural hotspot irresistible to tourists and locals alike; generating an additional £753.8 million in 2008 for the local economy (Arts Council). The EU wants to promote art and culture, by leaving we could be risking future artistic development as funds run elsewhere. The UK’s arts industry saw 10 million visits in 2011, representing almost half of all tourists (Arts Council). With a high likelihood of economic damage at the hands of the Leave campaign, we can only hope the EU will still want to support our arts industries for the cultural freedom they represent, even if it is only secondarily. It is one of the few things that may keep the UK afloat in such an uncertain time.
our once forward thinking, progressive nation takes on a seemingly cold, unwelcoming appearance
Hopefully, the arts industry here will continue to flourish especially due to our variety of talent and the development of proposed new links with South America, Asia and Eastern Europe. Art is and always will be influenced by different cultures from every corner of the world including Europe. Obviously, upon our departure, cultural hotspots within Europe will not become invisible, of course the arts will still be inspired by Europe, partnerships and collaborations will continue to exist, but without that connection, will other nations be willing to continue associate with our nation? The arts industry is indubitably under threat and we can only hope Brexit doesn’t gamble a beautiful cultural scene for just a taste of out-dated nationalism.