Arty quotes

Smart Art
Creative degree courses are providing the next generation of entrepreneurs.

The Times (of London) editorial, December 2021
02/01/2022
“There was a time when a youngster announcing they were going to art school would horrify their parents, fearful of an impecunious future for their offspring. And indeed, unless the students turned out to be John Lennon, Keith Richards, David Bowie, Pete Townsend, Roger Waters, Freddie Mercury, Brian Eno, Sade, Joe Strummer, Lady Gaga, Rita Ora or Damon Albarn, or became a very famous artist rather than a musician, mum and dad may well have been right.

Not any more. The false distinction between creative innovation and entrepreneurial flair is being eroded, which is excellent news for British business. New research from the Higher Education Statistics Agency reveals that the university with the most recent graduates setting up businesses with the backing of their alma mater is the Royal College of Art (RCA). The University of the Arts comes sixth in the list and the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama eighth.

Not so long ago such institutions were a little sniffy about private enterprise. These attitudes are now, mercifully, a thing of the past. Art school graduates are more likely than their peers from Russell Group universities to deploy their talents in business start-ups, whether those focus on design, technology, social media, fashion, marketing, branding, textiles, advertising, or the old-fashioned showbusiness platforms of stage and screen.

Britain has become a world leader in many of these sectors, which are an invaluable means both of projecting soft cultural power and garnering export earnings. Thanks often to a more vocationally-oriented art school education, those with creative gifts are increasingly acquiring the commercial nous to maintain the country’s comparative advantage. Sir Jony Ive, the celebrated Apple designer and chancellor of the RCA, along with fellow visionaries elsewhere, deserves great credit.”