University of Sussex Students' Newspaper

What does it mean to be an Arts student?

The Badger

ByThe Badger

Oct 24, 2012

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Marie Hawkins

This is a question which many have on their mind and one that is sometimes difficult to answer. The topic of Arts is very extensive and covers a range of subjects which includes Art History, Art, Media, History, Film studies, Drama and English. Though some may claim that Arts subjects are fairly unemployable and pretty broad when it comes to future careers, this is in fact far from the truth. It has been seen all over the country that funding and necessary provision for the arts has been dramatically reduced; a significant example being some London boroughs where the value of Arts subjects are less recognised and in danger of up to 100% cuts, putting various organisations at great risk. This is a very shocking example and I can’t begin to imagine the implications this would have on aspiring students as well as children and adults who want to pursue a career in the Arts.

Photo: Ana Ramirez

The Arts itself is a way for people to open up, express themselves and show their talent and creativity to the rest of the world or albeit to their friends, family or teachers. You will find many people who cannot paint, draw, or understand the meaning behind art, literature, or films. Only a small proportion of people can do this and this is one of the main reasons why the government need to increase the funding of the Arts, so that this talent is not wasted and these abilities are not lost forever. Our world is ever changing and the way we perceive or appreciate the Arts is no exception.  All the artists, authors, directors, actors and historians that there have ever lived are critical to the very shaping of everything we see today. The fact that they have been so influential and inspiring to so many generations is evidence enough that the Arts is so important and means a lot to society. For an Arts student, this means a whole lot more and a way for them to show their ideas and be a part of an interesting, diverse culture.

This is the driving force behind why people still do Arts subjects and why we are still so passionate about them. However, some people disregard the Arts as ‘proper’ subjects, and this is unfair. Having a degree in Art History, History or English can show to an employer a knowledgeable or critical mind, great enthusiasm and creativity, which are invaluable traits to have. These traits are more often than not the overriding factor as to why an employer hires one person over another. In my opinion, it is usually people with these Arts degrees that form the backbone of society, that hold the jobs that society cannot live without, and I am plainly referring to the mass of films, music, books, artwork, newspapers, buildings and monuments that we need to sustain us through our everyday lives.

It means everything to be an Arts student and the government needs to open their eyes to see this, because a failure in funding the Arts, is a failure of everything we believe in and in turn a failure of humanity. One of my fellow Art History students stated ‘I knew I wanted to study Art History because it’s a wonderful combination of History and Cultural studies. It’s a subject that is open to opinions, discussion and interpretation’. This is one opinion of many and certainly one that needs to be listened to, because it is no crime to keep the flame of Arts talent alive.

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