Education, education, education. Nothing to do with paintbrushes right? Or the thrill of learning a new instrument? Or getting up on stage for the first time and not being able to tell whether that feeling is fear, joy, or the beginning of a truly fulfilling and lifelong passion?
The arts have seen cuts over the last few years. As in any time of austerity and financial concern they seem to be the first to go. But should they be? Despite multiple reports on the huge benefits that the arts offer to both our economy and society, we seem to be stuck in an age where creativity is seen as an excess, as the exuberant topping to the real, weighty sectors. They are seen as something to be enjoyed but not taken seriously. And this is reflected nowhere more so, than in our schools system.
Starting this thinking from an early age, many children are encouraged to go with the 'safer' subjects, the ones that will get them the solid career. The arts are often portrayed as a flakey choice, one to take as a side helping to the main event. Why flounder around in drama and music when you could really be making something of yourself in the sciences? The arts sector is seen as a place that is foolish to even consider getting into.
Sure it's harder to get ahead in the arts, straight away. It takes time, it takes stamina, and it takes passion. But would you rather wait a few years, spend a few years toiling (and feeling like you might never get there) to end up with a job that makes you excited to get out of bed every morning, or would you rather walk out of university into a sure thing, that pays the bills, that also makes you wonder why the weekend finishes so quickly, and why the weeks drag on quite so long. If you love maths, if you dream of being a doctor, a scientist or an accountant, of course this is the route to take, and what fascinating work this can be in the right hands. But, if this isn't for you, why be pushed towards the 'sure thing', the 'safe bet' over the thing that makes you feel alive? Many people are enjoying fantastic, engaging, enlivening roles within the arts, and there's no reason not to try and grab on with both hands and go for it. School should be a place in which every individual is pushed to reach their potential, not someone else's, and certainly not a mediocre halfway house in which bills are paid, bets are safe, and passions are left untended.
This month we'll be looking at creativity within education, and questioning whether we are really doing our future generations justice in their formative years. It's pretty obvious which side we'll be taking, but we welcome all opinions. Please do join the discussions on Twitter and Facebook. We'll also be opening up user login over the next couple of weeks, so if you have a full blog you'd like to share on the subject please do.
Image courtesy of Mo Riza, via Flickr