I recently received an email from one of my colleagues about a petition against the government’s plan to make seven Ebacc subjects compulsory. In the email and in the petition it talks about how the seven subjects do not include any creative subjects and this could lead to fewer ‘arts’ subjects in schools.
This has bugged me for all the wrong reasons.
The idea that something like music or art is somehow more creative and artistic than science, maths or English is highly subjective and well, quite frankly insulting especially when you consider the implications of the subjects to our everyday life! Imagine the fallout if I was to suggest that the creative subjects were not intellectual, art was nothing more than a spot of drawing or that drama was a bunch of people just having a chat on stage.
This is, of course not the case. Art/ drama/ music can be highly intellectual, as Tracey Emin once said:
Being an artist isn’t just about making nice things, or people patting you on the back; it’s some kind of communication, a message
And this can be seen time and time again, Bertolt Brecht and his Berliner ensemble promoting Marxist ideologies through clever use of parody and story telling. Tracey Chapman conveying her views on social poverty in ‘fast car’ or even Damien Hirst hinting at the nature of life and death through exploration of formaldehyde’d (it’s now a word! Don’t judge me!) Things!
By the same token the exploration undertaken by histories greatest scientists/ mathematicians have only been so successful because of the creativity and innovation of the individual (and sometimes group!).
ALL subjects and ALL disciplines require dedication, practice of the key skills, creativity, rigor, thought, emotion, mastery and resilience to name but a few skills. To my mind, either all subjects are art or none are.
Calling some subjects academic and some creative cheapens every subject and creates a faux ‘us vs them’ mentality especially when we’re all professionals in the same boat!
That said, I know I’ve probably read too much into this simple email and vented in a disproportionate amount but I can tell you something. You’re damn right I’m going to sign that petition, after all, it’s the least I could do…
P.s. All views are my own. You are free to disagree as is your right.