Creative subjects can be key to job success

In a recent YouGov survey, members of the public were asked how important they feel it is for secondary schools to teach each of 18 different subjects. 

It was no surprise to see English, Mathematics, Computing and Science take the top four spots. However, it was rather concerning to see the creative subjects further down the league table. Only 57% of people surveyed thought Art & Design was important or very important.

The latest research suggests that to get ahead of the game in today’s competitive job market, young people should be investing more time in enhancing soft skills such as communication, teamwork and leadership. A recent survey found that 95% of UK senior managers regard soft skills as equally or more important than exam results alone.

The rehearsal room can be the best place to learn communication skills, team working and resilience and the art room encourages observation, reflective questioning, analytical behaviours, and communication. Both offer the opportunity for negotiation and discussion. All valuable skills. It raises the question why these subjects aren’t valued more highly as part of a balanced curriculum

The imposition of EBacc targets on schools is putting pressure on budgets for critical creative subjects. As illecebrous as the Ebacc may seem in offering what the government believe to be a rounded academic education, in reality it is restrictive. Young people are missing the opportunity to develop essential skills and differences that will set them apart from others applying for the same jobs as them.

This week two articles around the arts subjects caught my attention.

In the first one, Emily Gopaul, says, ‘To foster a love of art in children, we must teach it at primary school’. This is and always will be the case, not only does this create the love of art but will also help a child’s creativity and development. When it comes to teaching art – we always get the same excuses about funding and a lack of time to teach art. However, Emily has four simple tips to help us introduce art to young people at primary school.

1) If school leadership creates time for staff to work together and share ideas, it’s possible to create a whole school curriculum which is worthwhile.

2) Link art to other lessons. There’s many great artworks with fascinating narratives and symbolism. Referencing art while ensuring that children are learning artistic skills or techniques and have the chance to express their own ideas, provides a well-rounded art experience.

3) Try bite-sized classes (anything from 10 to 30 minutes) which could include looking at a piece of art and discussing it, practising drawing skills, or free-flow doodling.

4) Funding has left many schools struggling for money, so be resourceful.

The second article is about The Color Factory, a San Francisco based pop-up museum. The installation is the brainchild of Jordan Ferney. Ferney teamed with artist Leah Rosenberg, who served as creative director, and designer Erin Jang, who, as art director, conceived the overall look of the exhibit. Color Factory is home to 15 site-specific works by artists and creatives, with a mix of local and global talents. ‘Our goal was that each installation would meet three criteria,’ says Ferney. ‘It would be conceptual, beautiful and photogenic, and be an experience you couldn’t get anywhere else.’

With young people turning to social media at a young age this is the perfect way to introduce people to art is a fun way which will get their minds thinking and foster a love for art. Some dispute whether the museum is displaying actual art. However, I personally feel it is a step in the right direction in engaging with millennials in a refreshing way that suits them. 

‘We love to see how people are interacting in these spaces, from one room to the next, creating their own visual interpretations through their photographs,’ says Ferney.

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