Students 'Are Put off Arts Subjects Because They Don't Lead to a Job'; Lily Cole Warns over Career Choices as the Standard's Panel Debates the Influence of Culture and Technology on London

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Byline: Pippa Crerar and Lindsay Watling

art or science: WHICH MATTERS MORE FOR LONDON? Evening Standard Debate Pippa Crerar and Lindsay Watling ACTRESS and philanthropic entrepreneur Lily Cole has warned that Government cuts could put young people off studying the arts at university because they fear there will be no jobs at the end of it.

The model, who graduated from Cambridge with a double first in art history, argued the arts were crucial to London's economic success.

She was one of a high-profile panel at the Standard's debate, Art Or Science: Which Matters More For London? It included David Cameron's technology adviser, Rohan Silva, and former BP chief Lord Browne.

Today a report revealed arts organisations in London secure 90 per cent of donations from individuals. The study, by consultancy Arts & Business, found philanthropy increased, with [pounds sterling]660.5 million private investment in the arts in 2011/12 -- 7.6 per cent higher, a "remarkably robust show of support for culture".

But that is against a backdrop of public spending cuts and a sluggish economy. Ms Cole, 25, suggested cuts influenced career decisions: "I was thinking about how the cuts have affected university choices. One problem is that when decisions are made economically, jobs in the arts and a career in that trajectory are not as secure. Because of that, there's a danger there could be an impact on those subjects [at university].

"It's not always obvious how art is important economically to the city, but as a species it's very important and allows new ways of thinking." Mr Silva defended the Government: "We have been very, very careful to make sure that while we get our finances under control, the arts have a good settlement, that they are not getting hit harder than anything else.

"The arts have huge clout at No 10 and we are very alive to the importance of public funding." He revealed the Prime Minister was "oddly proud" of only getting a D at O-level science, and that Google chief executive Eric Schmidt had suggested buying the whole Olympic Park when he was first told about east London's Tech City.

Historian Leonie Frieda said her greatest fear was that poor job prospects in the arts were driving children into "ever narrowing corridors" in the education system. Boris Johnson's deputy mayor for culture, Munira Mirza, said: "There has been a reversal of fortunes: things like Latin and Greek and medieval history are now unfashionable.

What you get now is -- quite rightly -- huge enthusiasm for science and technology, but you don't get that same support for the arts." She added: "We have to have a much more broad view." Tate chairman Lord Browne urged the Government to play a "fit and proper role" in funding arts.

Wonga co-founder Jonty Hurwitz said that for our technology-driven generation "the only interesting thing we have left to offer for the future is our creative spirit, our art". The debate, at Google HQ in Victoria, was chaired by BBC journalist Jon Sopel.

Leonie Frieda Historian and former model ART must always come first. The artists of the Renaissance thought for themselves, whereas life before that had been linear and narrow.

But the freedoms of that era were brought on by the explosion of thought that came with the great philosophers of the Athenian Republic and Ancient Rome. That resulted in a subject called the humanities. Without the breadth and depth of this incredibly rich way of studying and the discipline it brought with it, the great offices of state would have been filled with incompetence.

It's a hole in today's education system. Perhaps my greatest fear is that job prospects are driving children into ever narrowing corridors.

It's unlikely they will go into the arts because of the funding issue. They are being asked to study specialised subjects -- but without humanities they can not back up what they are learning. …


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