STEM subjects are great, but so are Arts and Humanities

You’ve probably heard quite a lot about STEM subjects recently. They’ve been in the news a fair bit and we know we’ve been harping on about them too! They’re great, they really are, but so are your more ‘creative’ subjects. Notgoingtouni explain further…

What is a creative subject?

What does it mean to call a subject creative anyway? Creative versus what? Sure, creative is a useful word to attach to some subjects as a method of categorising them, but I’m not convinced that it has any objective meaning.  What does it actually mean to say that dance, drama, music, art or design  are ‘creative’ subjects and maths, science or engineering are non-creative?  It seems that the word creative when applied to subjects of study has become synonymous with fun, superfluous or easy in education and sits in opposition to non-creative, demanding subjects.

The describers creative and non-creative when attached to a subject of study certainly cannot be intended to indicate that some ‘thing’ is being created – so it isn’t being used to illustrate that something new is being developed through this learning – if it were, then engineering would most certainly be a perfect fit for this categorisation.

Do creative subjects require talent?

Maybe the anti-creative subject sentiment has its origins in jealousy.  I never would have studies art because I couldn’t figure out how to replicate something that existed in my mind on paper or any other artistic form – maybe people simply dismiss or ridicule what they cannot do because it makes them feel better. We do have a tendency to discuss some people’s success because it is born out of a talent, which we perhaps feel is only a matter of luck – but surely the same argument can be made for being better able to grasp the principles of mathematics?

Are creative subjects no good for future employment?

Labour market information actually indicates that job prospects for dancers, choreographers, actors, musicians, producers and directors are good, with job opportunities set to rise between now and 2022.

Pay for dancers and actors

The average UK salary for a dancer or choreographer is £33,280; for an actor, £40,560 and for producers and directors, £42,640 so not at all bad.

How much money do the creative industries add to the economy?

Figures show that the create industries are worth £76.9 billion per year to the UK economy – that’s approximately £8.8 million per hour.  Therefore, young people pursuing a career in the creative industries are vital to the survival and growth of the creative industries on the whole.

Professor Anne Carlisle has argued that generally our understanding of the creative industries can be a little narrow and there is a widely held belief that in order to do well financially one needs to ‘suppress one’s creative side’ – something which is simply untrue. We know for example that the UK gaming industry is worth more than £3 billion to the UK economy. It’s a fast growing global industry and if our home grown talent is encouraged away from this kind of creative study then put simply – other young people, in other countries will do it and reap the rewards.

Nicky Morgan has argued that school pupils are held back by studying the Arts exclusively and that this is restricting their future career path.  However, Sophia George is a BAFTA Award winning games developer, who runs her own company – she studied Games Art and Design.

Sophia George, founder of Swallowtail Games


There is creativity in chemistry, there is maths within art and music – Yes, there are some industries at the moment suffer from skills shortages and therefore, should you choose to focus your study energies on developing these skills and should you be good at it, the chances are that if there are job openings where you want to work, then you are likely to improve your chances of gainful employment. However, do remember that you are an individual – a thinking, breathing being with an individual personality, individual desires and aspirations and not simply part of a bigger mass – a cog in a watch whose only purpose is to make that watch work.

It’s not just STEM which is going in the right direction! As the article says, there are loads of opportunities in creative subjects. Loads! Why not start off by looking at one of our Performing Arts courses and see what tickles your fancy?! Click here for more…


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