Fearless polymaths: irrelevance and creativity

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In an interview with the Guardian, Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of American Vogue, talked about a few things – Hillary Clinton in particular. But she also said something that piqued my interest:

“The young people we hire today at Condé Nast are fearless polymaths”

That’s about the fifth time I’ve heard that word in the past week. Admittedly the other four were because I used it. But I’ve had a few conversations recently, with both students and colleagues about the need, as one of my graduates advised current students before Christmas, to ‘be interesting’.

A colleague told me recently that more than one professional illustrator had advised students not to specialise, and to remain flexible, taking an interest in as much as possible and to express themselves creatively in as many ways as possible.

Wintour said the same thing in her Guardian interview:

Wintour used the opportunity to appeal to the younger generation to “not become too specialised” and instead “be intellectually free”

And

“I urge you instead to seek to be relevant, to be agile and educated.”

Continue reading Fearless polymaths: irrelevance and creativity

Creative industries contributed £84bn to UK economy in 2014

Doctor who christmas 2010

A report from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport published yesterday says the Creative Industries grew twice as fast as the rest of the British economy. The Guardian reports:

One of the areas of strongest growth was in film, TV, video, radio and photography, which rose almost 14%, second only to architecture and graphic products and fashion design. Advertising and marketing increased by almost 11% between 2013 and 2014 but publishing went up just 2.8%. The number of jobs in the creative industries – which includes both creative and support roles – increased by 5.5% in the same time period, to 1.8 million. The creative industries economic estimates are official government statistics used to measure the direct economic contribution of those industries to the UK economy.

That’s based on figures from 2014. So let me contrast that with a statement made in November 2015 by Education Secretary Nicky Morgan. telling students to study ‘proper’ subjects that matter to the economy:

If you didn’t know what you wanted to do… then the arts and the humanities were what you chose because they were useful, we were told, for all kinds of jobs.

We now know that this couldn’t be further from the truth. That the subjects to keep young people’s options open are STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and maths.

I wonder if the Department for Culture, Media and Sport have sent their report to the Department for Education?