Arts world must address lack of diversity, says Labour’s Chris Bryant
The shadow culture minister Chris Bryant has opened a heated debate, calling for the democratisation of access the arts and citing Eddie Redmayne and James Blunt as examples of the privileged elite. An 'open letter' was writte... (read more)
THIS IS IT! was exactly what I needed. It left my mind whizzing with ideas. I don’t know what the future holds but I will keep working and keep climbing the ladder.”
The Creative Society is an arts employment charity that helps young people into jobs in the creative and cultural industries.
The Creative Society grew from an article written in the New Statesman in January 2009 by Martin Bright, the magazine’s former political editor. Martin suggested that cultural elements of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), which was introduced by US President Franklin D. Roosevelt during the 1930’s Depression, could be adapted for the UK today. Martin’s article struck a chord and he was inundated with offers of support from prominent people in the arts and politicians from all parties.
The WPA created 3,500 branch libraries, 4,400 musical performances every month, a national collection of oral histories which featured the stories of the last living slaves. Artists and writers who benefited from the WPA include Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and Willem de Kooning, Saul Bellow, John Cheever and Ralph Ellison.
Half a century later, a similar project called the Enterprise Allowance Scheme was introduced to the UK by Margaret Thatcher. The EAS gave creative and entrepreneurial people the chance to set up their own business with government help. The EAS famously helped figures including Creation Records founder Alan McGee, Superdry’s creator Julian Dunkerton and artists Tracey Emin and Jane and Louise Wilson.1qa
The Creative Society (formerly New Deal of the Mind) has successfully lobbied for the return of the Enterprise Allowance Scheme, and borrows and adapts from both the EAS and WPA to push for government policy that encourages self-employment and freelance opportunities – the lifeblood of the creative industries. We’re working with the Government to help put unemployed people into creative placements in arts and culture and we’re finding spaces across the UK which will become “incubator centres” providing space, support and advice for people setting up on their own.