Generation Brexit

Is there a future for the UK arts and creative industry?

Tollak Bowitz
Tollak Bowitz | Jul 6, 2017 | in Breaking Up/Paying Up

Many fear that Brexit could end the British creative industry as we know it.

It could mean leaving the EU-funding program called Creative Europe, which has benefitted almost 10 per cent of British art and culture projects –  over £10 million in 2014. And no replacement has yet been announced.

In addition, the future of the tax relief program for the creative industries, intellectual property rights or income based on resale and licensing, is thrown into question.

The creative industries made up over 9 per cent of Britain’s export of services in 2009-14, with a worth of £2,1 billion more than what was imported in the same time period. The UK’s soft power of attraction also could hang in the balance.

Much depends on the final agreement between the UK and the EU27, but the Arts Council England should be given a voice in the negotiations, to make sure these issues are prioritised. This could include continued participation in Creative Europe and EU Cities of Culture, but also less rigid regulation for creative professionals and students. 

Has your life in the creative industry changed since the referendum?

edited on Jul 10, 2017 by Tollak Bowitz

Valeria Vigilante Jul 7, 2017

This is a very interesting point, scarcely mentioned in the debate. Do you have any idea on how the creative industry might get the general public's attention and influence the negotiations?

Gaia Jul 10, 2017

Good question!
For one thing, artists, curators and cultural practitioners have been quite vocal so far in their opposition to Brexit - or more precisely to some of the ugliest post-Brexit racist and xenophobic reactions. Projects like Hands Off Our Revolution ( ) unite creatives in voicing their concerns over an increasingly right-wing, borders-obsessed, conservative discourse. Some may be very critical, but all of them look to keep the conversation active and relevant.

Tollak Bowitz Jul 10, 2017

Good shout! And perhaps that is a strength of the creative industries, by being able to shape the discourse and perception of certain issues?

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Gaia Jul 10, 2017

I'd say their strength lies in fostering dialogue through different channels, rather than in shaping the discourse which may sound a bit too normative. Art is a powerful tool, but power ultimately resides in people's ability to communicate and get together. :)

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Gaia Jul 10, 2017

The uncertainty around what will come next and the disappointment at the decision to leave the EU are palpable at arts universities; I've heard myself many fellow students reconsidering their long term plans to stay in the UK in favour of going back home to a more 'stable' situation - or for fear of having more difficulties than natives at finding a job, or even of being 'kicked out' of the country.

As appealing as Britain's creative industry has always looked abroad, I doubt it could be as lively without its multiculturality and inputs from different countries; this should be something to keep in mind at Brexit negotiations.

Tom Badley Jul 11, 2017

There are plenty of amazing British bands to pick from, with names like the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Who, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, The Clash, Oasis, Blur, and Queen, just to name some of the most famous ones. They didn't need the EU!