The Cost Of Cutting Culture: A discussion

The Cost of Cutting Culture – can a creative education close the business skills gap?

A lively and engrossing discussion formed the majority of the Lord Mayor’s Gresham College Lecture on Thursday 9th January, attended by a packed audience and a knowledgeable panel including William Russell, Lord Mayor of London, and the directors of the City of London’s key cultural institutions: Kathryn McDowell CBE, DL, MD of the London Symphony Orchestra, Lynne Williams who is Principal of the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, Sir Nicholas Kenyon CBE, MD of the Barbican Centre, and Sharon Ament, Director of the Museum of London.

Introduced by the Lord Mayor, he made the points that over the last twenty years the tech companies have replaced the oil and engineering firms as as the world’s largest employers, with a raft of implications for what the jobs of tomorrow will look like.

With the changing demands at work, and the threat of automation to 40% of the UK’s current jobs, creative skills are becoming more important and desirable in the workplace. The so- called “Fusion Skills” – social, analytical and creative skills – will progressively play a larger part in the job descriptions of many future UK Jobs.

The alarming situation is that there is a genuine demotion of the arts in the UK school curriculum. The arts are not represented at GCSE Level at all.

The UK’s future workplaces will need to attract the best candidates by offering creative work environments but also extensions of that out into the environment. People aspire to work and live in areas like Shoreditch, Clerkenwell and Camden, as they are seen to have a creative vibe which enriches their environments. 

Culture Mile is a move to create a similar creative hub destination, a creative partnership between The Barbican Centre, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the LSO and the Museum of London. It aims to create a thriving and intriguing cultural community which runs from Farringdon to Moorgate- the Culture Mile.

The discussion covered what businesses can do to support and drive creativity, and the role of the Culture Mile in supporting a creative society.

Each organisation outlines the way that their work has developed to encompass outreach and life-long learning opportunities in the community, with particular drive to unlock each person’s creativity. The links between culture ,commerce and finance were also discussed.

Questions from the audience included issues such as sponsorship, digital services, and the work of creating a cultural community which could call Culture Mile its home- central to this being affordable housing.

So, lots to enjoy and lots to think about for the future, in a very listenable hour.

You can watch or listen to the whole event via the link here.


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