Don't study art history! (ctd.)

December 18 2012

Further to my post below on Tom Snyder's call for students to avoid art history, a reader sends in this perspicacious thought:

Of course we need STEM [Science, Technology, subject graduates, but that does not mean we don't also need arts and humanities graduates (this sort of dubious see-saw thinking also infects discussions of private and public sectors). As recruitment officer for a School of Arts I often come across unsubstantiated assertions that there are no jobs for art historians or philosophers. This is not true. The creative industries, heritage and tourism and the cultural sector constitute a vibrant and substantial part of the UK economy. At a recent careers event at the V&A I heard a fascinating talk by a designer, Chris Sherwin - Head of Sustainability at Seymourpowell, about how a huge amount of industrial waste and environmental damage is simply caused by poor design. Scientists need arty types, and vice versa.

Arguments that we can "no longer afford the arts" are not only uncivilised, they fly in the face of evidence to the contrary of their importance for the economy.

Another reader writes:

I think one of the most important things in life is to have a balance, to help you see the whole picture…or at least to be able to appreciate that there is more than one way of looking at things. Art, for me, is the means to do this…and it will benefit the whole of society if more attention is paid to this vitally important and enriching aspect of our lives.

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