Universities launch campaign to celebrate creative subjects in wake of pandemic

Almost two-thirds of parents believe creative university courses benefit the UK economy, research has found.

The difficulties faced by the creative industries during the pandemic have prompted universities to launch a campaign to defend the contributions of creative subjects.

The survey of over 2,000 parents of children aged 18 and under, carried out by Savanta ComRes, found that nearly two-thirds (65%) agreed that creative lessons benefited the UK economy, while almost one in seven (69%) said students learned important creative skills at university that were vital to boosting the country’s creative industries.

But 67% of parents said they thought the creative industries had suffered from the pandemic.

Nish Kumar (Ian West/PA)

In response, Universities UK launched a campaign, Creative Sparks, to promote government support for creative arts courses.

Each university has named a national cultural figurehead, with nominees including comedian Nish Kumar and Derry Girls screenwriter Lisa McGee.

Alistair Jarvis, Chief Executive of Universities UK, said: “Our universities, our creative education and our brilliant academics are at the heart of the UK’s creative excellence and essential to the success of our creative industries.

“They are the engine room for so many things that make the UK the envy of the world, including our music, films, TV programs and video games.

“Universities are places where creative ideas flourish, where innovation happens and where companies employing thousands of people are created.

“This is where the nation’s creative sparks are ignited.”

Other “Sparks” nominees include musician Laura Mvula, Bob The Builder and PAW Patrol creator Keith Chapman, and Cressida Cowell, author of How To Train Your Dragon.

Chapman said, “My career would not have been possible without the skills I learned and the people I met while at college.

“If the government wants our creative industries to remain the best in the world, it needs to show that it understands how important creative courses are to their success.”

A spokesman for the Department for Education said: ‘This government remains committed to the arts and creative sectors and the importance of funding talent in our world-class education system.

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