In this special edition digest we explore the news around Brexit and its impact on the Arts Industry. Sky channel has recently reported that people are seeking reassurance for the government as fears rises regarding the upcoming restrictions on the freedom of movement.
As well as this, we learn how creative industries are very anxious about their future post-Brexit – it’s clear that they face many challenged but perhaps could it be time to meets challenges head on and look to transforming the industry in their favour?
MPs have been warned about the risks facing the arts sector in the wake of Brexit by organisations such as the Creative Industries Federation and The Arts Council England. Finally, The Arts Council Director addressed the implications of Brexit on the Irish arts sector and we explore the six mentioned areas.
Warning that Brexit could price 'lowly paid' artists out of the UK
In a recent piece published online by news channel Sky, it has been reported that people are seeking reassurance from the government due to rising fears that freedom of movement restrictions may lead to a skills shortage.
Sir Nicholas Kenyon, Managing Director of London’s Barbican Centre, wants government assurances that performers, no matter whether highly or lowly paid, should be allowed in to the country based on their skill rather than what they earn.
"We're being told highly paid, highly skilled people will be able to come here but what about - in terms of artists and creative people - very highly skilled, lowly paid workers? I think it can be a catalyst to a truly global approach to culture but, what would become absolutely the wrong conclusion, was if it turns into little England again.
We want to have our boundaries as wide as possible in all the arts to welcome companies from around the world."
The UK’s creative industry has grown immensely and now contributes approximately £90bn to the economy. MPs have been warned that restricting movement would be detrimental to that industry and may trigger a skills shortage.
Those in the arts and creative industries should have nothing to fear from Brexit
Anxiety abounds within the arts sector and creative industries regarding their future post-Brexit. That anxiety is so strong in some instances that it fuels support for those still trying to discover ways to block Brexit.
However, attempting a Brexit block could have serious consequences, as it would effectively mean conducting a coup against the majority of the country who voted to leave the EU. It’s interesting to note that, just before the referendum in May 2016, 96% of arts professionals surveyed, supported the Remain camp. But do these worries have any basis in reality?
t is clear that the creative industries face many challenges when it comes to Brexit but perhaps it could be the time to meet these challenges head on and look to transforming the creative economy in their favour.
It’s a fact that very few arts organisations have actually received any EU funding, which makes you wonder why there is such a huge uproar at its potential loss. The organisations that have actually received the funding have had to jump through so many hoops and, in some cases, had to reshape their project to fit the EU ideal rather than the needs of their local communities. Could this funding not now come from a UK budget, making it democratic rather than bureaucratic?
Brexit will present many challenges but it also presents opportunities. Nothing has been determined regarding exactly what will happen but when the British public voted to leave, they also set challenges to political, business and cultural leaders. It is now up to those people to take up that challenge and succeed.
‘Brexit may force progress on arts education’, MPs told
MPs have been warned about the risks facing the arts sector if free movement and access to European arts and culture are lost in the wake of Brexit.
John Kampfner, Chief Executive of the Creative Industries Federation, highlighted a skills gap in the sector which is currently being filled by a non-British workforce. He also pointed out that changes have to be made to the way we look at arts education.
Also present at the committee meeting were Sir Peter Bazalgette, outgoing Chair of Arts Council England and Nicola Mendelsohn, Co-Chair of the Creative Industries Council. They both urged a rethink on the visa system to allow talent to flow in and out of the country more easily.
Kampfner, who echoed these comments, recommended the introduction of a visa system which does not penalise creatives by assessing their value solely based on earning potential, consequently illustrating that, in the creative industries, a strong correlation does not exist between talent and earning potential.
Kampfner also addressed the DCMS, calling on them to “quickly do a better analysis” of the impact of European culture funding, putting particular emphasis on the existing difficulties in terms of quantifying its overall monetary impact.
Arts Council Director addresses the implications of Brexit on the Irish arts sector
Orlaith McBride, Director of the Arts Council of Ireland, has highlighted 6 areas of concern which could follow Brexit:
- The potential border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland
- Possible disruption to funding EU collaborative projects
- Monetary implications of Brexit
- The effect of taxation for companies wishing to tour the UK post-Brexit and VAT rates
- EU data protection laws
- “Cautious" nature of corporations because of the uncertainties surrounding Brexit
Among Ms McBride’s comments, she noted that currency fluctuations would have a negative impact on investment and therefore the ability to continue touring in the UK. At the moment, budgets are very lean as it is, leaving no flexibility to manage possible currency fluctuations thus causing Irish arts organisations to possibly cease appearing abroad, such as at the Edinburgh Fringe.
She also noted potential problems with data sharing between North South Touring Scheme and the Arts Council Northern Ireland when laws on data protection are rewritten to exclude the EU.
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