Arts vs. the ‘academic’: the discussion of stigma

Arts vs academic

Arts vs. the ‘academic’: the discussion of stigma

We’re back with another Writer’s Corner. We’ve heard from Ellie, Ollie, and Nike, and now it’s the turn of Brittany to have a little vent about the stigma against art degrees.

Let’s face it; there’s a lot of negative stigma surrounding creative subjects and how they’re perceived as ‘soft’. People have preconceived ideas that STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths) subjects are supposedly more prosperous for the modern economy. But where has this idea come from?

Personal experiences

I’ve always had a natural flair for creative subjects, which led me to complete a university degree in Media and Communication. Something I’m very proud of. But when someone asks what I graduated in, my response is often met by a simple “oooh” or “that sounds interesting”. In comparison, friends who graduated in subjects such as biochemistry receive a flock of compliments over their intelligence.

The stigma surrounding creative subjects is one which is both disheartening and unnecessary. Such studies have a lot to offer both the individual student and the wider society. It’s time that we recognise that and abandon outdated understandings.

The worth of Webster

It’s undeniable that STEM subjects do surround most, if not all, of our interactions. For instance, you wouldn't be reading this or I wouldn't be writing this if it wasn’t for maths and science converging to create the computer.

But for reading this article, you have Noah Webster Jr. to thank (or blame). The influence which Webster and the introduction of the dictionary have had on our communications is simply phenomenal.

English is viewed by many to be the most important subject, with 84% of people seeing it as ‘very important’. Yet, it still seems that within the working world it doesn’t hold equal status to STEM subjects. But why isn’t it receiving the credibility that it deserves?

The importance of encouragement

I often encounter myself telling people that my degree “used to be classed as a BSc, not a BA”. Which is true, just in case you were interested…

I find that if I tell people that my degree is associated with science, it gives it more merit. Creative subjects are seen as more of a hobby, and the future of them in the education system is uncertain.

A survey conducted in more than 1,200 secondary schools showed that 9 in 10 schools had cut back on time, teachers, or facilities in at least one creative subject. This statistic shows that more than 40% of schools are hindering the interest and exploration into such subjects.

With more traditional subjects being pushed by governance, creative subjects are coming second. You can even see it in the bursaries given to teachers in training. Sciences will get you at least £26,000 compared to the £15,000 English gets you. It’s important that we still celebrate and encourage them both in schools and at home.

The credentials of creative studies

Subjects concerned with creativity allow for innovative ideas and have a lot to offer when considering employment. They require specific skills and allow for the individual to develop on their knowledge surrounding critical thinking and analysis, individual research, and concentration.

Focusing on the promotion of STEM subjects from a young age can affect self-confidence and hinder the true passions and talents of children. Motivating your child to follow their own interests allows for more freedom and confidence. It can lead to employment in industries such as film and TV, design, and content writing. There’s an endless list of credible employment opportunities in the creative industry.

If like me you find the art of communication to be something more than just a hobby, here at Coster Content we can teach you how to develop and enhance your existing writing skills. Our academy service offers guidance and support to elevate your abilities. To find out more, you can visit us here.

Alia Coster