Kelvingrove To Stay Free Despite Brexit

From trading majestic murals to detailed tapestries, the UK’s creative industry is a rapidly expanding sector. It is currently growing at double the rate of the overall economy. The industry contributes £87bn in GVA – more than oil and gas, life sciences and aerospace combined – and employ 1 in 11 people. They are world-leading, attract top talent from around the world, and unlock innovation. But with all the Brexit twists and turns, extensions and pledges, the UK’s arts and culture industry are set to be rocked the most.

The EU allows for the enjoyment of freedom of movement for goods, services, capital and people, underpinning the overall success of the sector. The current ability to attract talent, tour freely, and trade with our neighbours is vital to the creative industries.

A poll by the Creative Industries Federation (CIF) found 96% of its members voted to remain in the referendum.

A statement from the CIF reads; “We appreciate the countries decision to leave the EU…both a no deal and a bad deal Brexit outcome would be disastrous for the creative industries.”

Sir Nicholas Hynter – previous Director of the National Theatre for 12 years – has delivered strong warnings in a previous interview with The Guardian around the impact of Brexit; “You will find nobody in the arts world who doesn’t think there is an enormous black cloud on the horizon in the shape of Brexit.”

Scotland as a country voted 62% to remain in the European Union. Despite this, it is currently about to exit the EU along with the rest of the UK. Leaving Europe will subsequently damage arts and culture funding however a statement from Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum re-iterates that they would honour a city-wide pledge.

A communications officer says; “The city-wide pledge would not, to my understanding, be affected by any outcome and would still stand.”

As it stands, Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum is free to enter and is one of the most popular attractions in Glasgow. However, with funding dramatically being cut as a result of Brexit, would the everyday gallery-goer be happy to pay for an entrance fee? I asked students and staff their thoughts on the situation:

Adam Smith, a film production student says; “Aye I love Kelvingrove, I think it’s class! I would still go, but not as frequently.”

Janette Wilson, library co-ordinator says; “Yes I would still go, as long as it wasn’t ridiculous prices I wouldn’t mind contributing to the upkeep of it.”

Arts and culture have always been about collaboration and freedom of expression, not limitation and constriction. With leading figures throughout the arts and cultural world feeling nothing but anger and worry surrounding the looming Brexit outcome, it leaves artists in a varying position. Some may thrive in a new, more challenging landscape. Less and less funding available may result in an outpouring of more creative ideas. On the flip side, the restrictions and cutting of creative resources may reflect how our society is changing as a whole, putting up walls and forcing us to look in rather than out.

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