Being a part of the Collabor-8 collective and studying an art subject at university has forced me to realise the harsh reality that as a young person I was going to struggle to prove myself not only within the art world, but to those who don’t value Photography as a valid subject to study at university.
But should I really have to prove that Photography is just as valid a subject to study as Biology or Business for example? With the Government now threatening to cut some art subjects (most recently there is a threat for Art History) at GCSE and A-Level it seems to be increasingly harder to say no to this question. Young people are now being discouraged from studying arts subjects ‘This year’s loss is more than five times the size of the loss in 2015, when candidate numbers fell by 9,000.’ (Liz Hill 2016) Why should we let parents, the government and schools scare our young people away from studying anything art based? Art and design are fundamental parts to our everyday lives. In a world without individuals who have artistic skills there would be no pattern, no individuality, no design to life. Your Instagram or Angry Birds app would not exist without an artistic designer thinking up and designing the graphics or algorithms.
We need art to express ourselves. There is evidence to illustrate the link between artists and a history of mental health problems. It seems apparent that people who suffer in this way are naturally drawn to artistic methods to express. We need art to escape, to create, to show the world who we are. To many people art is fundamental to good mental health, look at art-therapy for example, this is a legitimate form of Psychological therapy that helps many.
In a world without art, colour and expression we would live in a very mundane world. We need to keep art as prominent within the curriculum as Science or Maths. We must give young creative people a chance to create change through their innovations or artistic designs. The value of the arts has massively been overlooked and it is only getting worse.
Do we really want to live in a world where people cannot express themselves or a world with no colour or design?
We need to start putting arts subjects into context and really think about the value that these subjects have and how it enriches our world.
Words and Photographs by Nottingham Contemporary Collabor-8 collective member, Leah Wareham