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Culture and creativity – the key to our ‘Soft Power’ success

Culture Secretary praises the value of arts and culture to the UK

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Maria Miller Value of culture speech
Maria Miller MP

The value of the arts and culture to the UK can be seen in the way it affects our international standing – the ‘soft power’ it brings – and its role as the driving force behind our booming creative industries, Culture Secretary Maria Miller said today.

In a keynote speech to cultural leaders today she said:

Culture matters. That’s why it holds a unique place in our hearts. It has a central place in shaping our national identity, and has an enormous impact on our global standing– our reputation as a place worth doing business with; our reputation as a place worth visiting; and our reputation as a place worth experiencing culture in its many varied forms. The reputation of UK culture equips us with a level of trust, soft power and influence to which other major countries can only aspire.

It is our culture that underpins our creativity and our creativity which yields the results which might well be technological developments, but can also make our hearts sing, 1.68 million people work in the UK’s creative industries. These people contribute to a sector worth more than £70 billion last year and which grew faster than any other sector in the economy.

I absolutely believe that our arts, culture and creative industries here in this country are not only the best in the world, but that there are vital to our future national well-being and prosperity.

And she stressed the importance of the arts as a part of young people’s education:

It is right that we are emphasising science, technology, engineering and maths in the school curriculum. These are subjects which have been neglected for too long. But the arts remain a core component of any child’s education. They are a must-have not an add-on.

So, yes, let’s prioritise STEM subjects, but let’s not forget the A. Let’s not underestimate the importance of STEAM.

Tate Director Nicholas Serota said:

” Maria Miller’s belief that the arts enhance our understanding of ourselves, each other and the world at large is a welcome recognition of the central role that the arts now play in contemporary British life. She also makes a powerful argument for the arts to be an important part of a child’s education alongside English, maths, history and science.”

Sally Tallant, Director, Liverpool Biennale said

” It is wonderful to hear the Culture Secretary recognising the vital role that culture plays in all of our lives. Also, the important role that the arts, culture and creative industries play in terms of defining national identity and leading cultural diplomacy. Finding ways to make strong arguments for future investments in the arts, culture and education is at the heart of building a creative and productive future for everyone.”

Read Culture Secretary Maria Miller’s Value of culture speech.

Published 22 January 2014