Young People Roundtable with Ed Vaziey

Date Wed 2 December 2015

Elodie Lafosse, a placement student for Dance UK from the University of Surrey, met with Ed Vaizey, the Minister of State for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries at a Young Person’s Roundtable on 1 December. They discussed the upcoming White Paper, due to be published in the next coming months. The roundtable held over twenty young people from across the country with a range of arts and creative industry backgrounds.

It has been 50 years since the only previous White Paper was published on the arts. The arts industry has changed significantly over the last 50 years, especially with regards to the relationship between the arts and government. Ed Vaizey, the Minister of State for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries will publish a high level strategy document in the coming months to feed back into government which will give an overall vision and agenda for the future of the arts. The four themes in the White Paper will be place making, education and access, funding and cultural diplomacy. 

At the young people’s roundtable, Ed Vaziey met over twenty young people from across the arts sector. He heard first-hand experiences about the struggles that young people in the arts are facing as well as successful experiences that young people have learnt from. We discussed what kind of education we thought is needed to help people progress and succeed. Out of this came discussions about how valuable arts education is and how it should be a core subject at school with more support and resources available for teachers.

A subject that was clearly very important to the young people in the room was the lack of information about careers in the arts available from their education institutions. Many believed that this is what has put students off from choosing arts subjects in education. I mentionedLaunch, Dance UK’s professional development and networking day designed especially to help dance students and recent graduates from across the country starting out in their careers by providing practical advice on how to achieve a variety of careers. Launch will take place in Leeds at Yorkshire Dance and Northern Ballet/Phoenix Dance Theatre on 26 February 2016. 

Many other interesting issues were bought up such as the importance of internships in helping young people find employment, but also finding a way of trying to fund these so that young people from a wider range of backgrounds can benefit. We also discussed how arts opportunities needed to be spread across the whole of the United Kingdom including smaller communities if they want there to be a wider range of people engaged in the arts. 

Overall it was an incredible roundtable to be a part of which is a true reflection of how passionate not only the arts sector is but also young people. Hopefully the issues that were discussing in the roundtable will be taken into account as Ed Vaizey writes this new strategy document for the arts. 

To share your thoughts on the upcoming White Paper you can join the conversation via your social media channels using the hashtag #OurCulture.