Do you think people in the Arts and Culture sector should retrain?

By : Forum Moderator
Published 9th October 2020 |
Read latest comment - 26th October 2020

The headlines captured the attention of the music industry and the public this week when the chancellor Rishi Sunak suggested that the creative industry contains jobs that are now unviable and perhaps people should be retraining.

With pretty much no live music now, no gigs (apart from the odd socially distanced one, sitting at tables, which costs the earth), no festivals, theatres closed for the foreseeable future and cinemas even closing their doors as Cineworld shut i’s venues this week, it is a bleak time to be in the Arts.

Some larger, well-known bands have been doing online shows and they get a good following but that is because of their reputation, for lesser known performers that’s a no go. They have also taken prebookings for gigs next year, but how much we can rely on those happening is another matter! For performers that work professionally doing things like cabaret, pub gigs, theatre shows etc. they have mostly had next to no financial support and are still not allowed to perform for the most part.

Now to add insult to injury they are told to retrain! Anyone in this sector will know they are in it for the love of the craft, and that’s not easy to give up, I don’t think many go into it for the money but no one could have foreseen this.

However, does Rishi have a point? If your work dries up can you expect the government to help or should you just suck it up and get a different job? I think here are a few issues, firstly, there aren’t that many jobs anyway, lots of people are being made redundant in fact (750,000 so far). Secondly, the restrictions in place stopping many performances, especially the 10pm curfew and ban on dancing/singing plus extra local restrictions,  means it is very much out of people’s hands and arguably unnecessary in soe people’s eyes given the actual chances of contracting and dying from the virus.

This article certainly isn’t about arguing over the ins and outs of the measures in place, but surely if the government are the ones stopping people making a living they should do more than suggest they retrain?

The linked article actually suggests that furlough being across the board was a huge money sink, as plenty of wealthy and thriving businesses were able to claim and it will cost the country billions. Whilst self employed people had to rely on SEISS which meant some got nothing.

Of course, it has to be said they brought out the furlough and other compensations schemes fast, and you will always have people who miss out, as it can’t cater for every situation. This country did more than some, that’s for sure.

I do think Rishi should have been a little less rash with his comments though, I am sure he knows by now what the headline would be… although the interview definitely wanted to angle him towards it!

Do you think he was right, that people in sectors suffering need to retrain?

https://www.itv.com/news/2020-10-06/rishi-sunak-suggests-musicians-and-others-in-arts-should-retrain-and-find-other-jobs

Comments

Its a really tough one, and also very emotive.

There's a lot of "I'm all right Jack", so peoples opinions will vary greatly on their type of business or employment. As a digital business, I know I'm extremely fortunate. But imagine if you had just sunk all your savings into that new restaurant last December? Or my friend's daughter had recently started a theatre company after graduating from Uni.

I try and offer a balanced opinion, but unless your own necks on the block, I'm never going to understand the pressure or desperation of someone in a devasted industry.

My personal opinion and it will be unpopular, but I think Rishi Sunak is right.

We were already changing as a society, moving to a task-based economy, moving away from the factory worker 9-5 mentality. Covid has just supercharged the process and accelerated it by 10 years. The problem is we aren't ready for it as a society or have the adequate infrastructure. So there needs to be dramatic reskilling and upskilling across all industries as we all race to keep up.

Specifically the arts, it's going to impact a lot of people that work in the industry, so they may have to review their futures. But what about the artists themselves, whatever the genre?

Here I'm more optimistic. Covid or a seismic shift in society and working practices isn't going to stifle art and creativity. If anything it's going to fuel it.

Experiences and exposure to arts and culture may be different in the future, but it will still happen. Maybe a "live" performance will be delivered via a cheap virtual reality headset. Maybe you will subscribe to steveslivebands.com and you will be sent a quality virtual reality device with amazing sound, like an iPhone on a contract. Before you know it, you're on stage with Bono, or maybe touring the Louvre in Paris.

Maybe there is an experience no one has thought of yet. 

The Arts and Culture sector will change in the same way the traditional office work has changed. In the short term there will be lots of pain and despair, so for those affected, re-evaluate and move quickly. But act now. Hoping for furlough type schemes isn't viable for the individual or the country.


Steve Richardson
Gaffer of My Local Services
My Local Services | Me on LinkedIn

Virtual gigs sound horrific. I'm not a VR fan at all!!! Nothing beats the real thing. I find it all rather depressing! I miss people and atmospheres. The future sounds very segregated!


May have mentioned this before lol .... But I have never been to a live music or gigs in my life... The closest I have come is to a live band (The Blarney Brothers) who played in a Pub in SA. But there was also a lot of drinking and singing involved and dancing on tables lol

 


Thanks
Andy-C | Pewter World

May have mentioned this before lol .... But I have never been to a live music or gigs in my life... The closest I have come is to a live band (The Blarney Brothers) who played in a Pub in SA. But there was also a lot of drinking and singing involved and dancing on tables lol

 ”

 

You worry me at times Andy. Hahaha. 


lol I just wasn't into music, but I just had my favourite songs 


Thanks
Andy-C | Pewter World

Virtual gigs sound horrific. I'm not a VR fan at all!!! Nothing beats the real thing. I find it all rather depressing! I miss people and atmospheres. The future sounds very segregated!”
 

Watched the matrix again the other night. I've decided this really must be a bizarre simulation and we are all in a virtual world right now!


Steve Richardson
Gaffer of My Local Services
My Local Services | Me on LinkedIn

That actually sounds like a preferable explanation at the moment!