You’ve raised a very good point, which is a significant issue in the whole EBacc debate. In fact there are three reasons why I am swayed to view design & technology as an ‘arts’ subject.
Firstly, I think it is important to constantly reinforce the role of the arts within the broader creative industries, and whilst ‘design and technology’ is at the interface with ‘industry’, it is nonetheless a part of the continuum of creative activity. To separate it implies that the arts are somehow ‘fluffier’ than other creative disciplines – a contributor to ‘leisure and pleasure’ rather than ‘work and industry’. It’s a distinction that the government seems keen to pursue, having effectively ‘downgraded’ the arts (https://www.artsprofessional.co.uk/news/arts-and-culture-downgraded-ministerial-restructure) by placing the sector in the portfolio of the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Arts, Heritage and Tourism, separating it from the Creative Industries, which remain in the portfolio of the Minister of State. The significance of this was thrown into stark relief when the Sector Deal for the creative industries left the arts out in the cold (https://www.artsprofessional.co.uk/news/arts-side-lined-sector-deal-creative-industries)
Secondly, I believe definitions of the arts can introduce unhelpful hierarchies. For example, opera and musical theatre, classical and popular music, digital art and graphic design, maybe? Or perhaps the most interesting example in this context would be art and craft. Exam board AQA describes its design & technology GCSE as giving students the opportunity to “use their creativity and imagination to design and make prototypes that solve real and relevant problems”. I would argue that a student who applies their creativity to a real world problem should be categorised in the same way as, say, a sculptor or craftsperson producing a different form of creative output.
Finally, I am unswayed by the DfE’s own classification of the arts, as in my experience government classifications are created to serve their own political ends. If the arts sector fails to embrace design & technology, then it is cut adrift with no classification at all. Despite ‘food technology’ and ‘electronics’ being routes within D&T, Government has already excluded it from classification as a ‘science’, which would have meant its inclusion in the EBacc. Excluding design & technology from the EBacc is also inconsistent with the decision to include computing by classifying it as a ‘science’, though arguably it has much more to do with maths (data, algorithms and boolean logic, for example) and languages (coding). If the ‘technology’ bit isn’t sufficient for D&T to be classified as a science, then presumably the ‘design’ bit means it must be an arts subject!
I don’t know who you are, but you should be ashamed of yourself for making personal comments about our journalist Christy Romer, whose private life has nothing whatsoever to do with this article. If you have something to say, stand up and be counted – don’t hide behind anonymity to fling out your criticisms and assertions. In fact Christy’s article passes no comment whatsoever on the quality of Emma Rice’s work. Indeed, he says that in words of one syllable: “This has nothing to do with the art, and everything to do with the Arts Council.”
What he does is express a widely held view that the arts funding system in England favours those who have a good relationship with the Arts Council. It’s a sad fact of the arts sector that few are willing to speak out about this, and thereby risk their own funding to prove that point. Only those who do not ‘take the Arts Council’s shilling’ – as you put it – feel confident enough to speak out. The Arts Council doesn’t help itself in this respect – it was only three years ago that we reported its plans to introduce contractual terms for NPOs that would bring sanctions against anyone saying anything that might damage its reputation https://www.artsprofessional.co.uk/news/arts-council-backs-down-over-gagging-clause . After AP pointed this out, the offending clause was removed. That’s the value of independent journalism.
And for the record, ArtsProfessional paid for Christy’s journalism training and qualifications, so you can rest easy that no public money was used to help train this young person to seek truth and speak out boldly when public bodies need to be held to account.
I have been doing some analysis of the figures that the Mayor's office is quoting. I think you might find them interesting . See my blog at http://www.artsprofessional.co.uk/magazine/blog/lies-damned-lies-and-arts-funding-statistics
ACE contacted AP on 30/01/2014 in connection with Article 19's feature entitled 'Dark Money' http://www.article19.co.uk/theevilimp/dark_money.php AP had flagged this article to our readers as a 'good read' using a verbatim section quoted from the piece, which included the statement that ACE had "pre-emptively decline[d] a Freedom of Information request for the data." A previous email exchange between AP and ACE had implied that ACE would decline the Freedom of Information request in question, but at that time it had not actually been declined (and indeed, the information was subsequently provided). When ACE asked us to change the words on our website, we told ACE: "In fact those were not our words, so to have them removed you need to contact the author at Article 19. We are simply quoting them. Until such time as you have resolved this with the author, we’ve taken that paragraph off our website." We were unaware that no such request was ever made of Article 19.
And my point, of course, is that for 'us', they are arts-related, but for 'them' (and I was one of 'them') they are just 'gigs' and 'cinema'. The reason the Dunlop ad was so successful at raising the company's profile was because it identified some things the public were very familiar with, and showed what life would be like without the company behind them. Surely there's a parallel here in the arts...
Thanks for this comment - it's always difficult to know how far to edit a 'techie' piece. Some readers will find it a bit difficult to grasp all the detail in John's article (and I include myself in that!) but other readers work with their organisations' websites all the time and would find it condescending if we were to interpret it for less techie readers. It's a fine judgement call - maybe we misjudged this one. Hopefully everyone got the general gist - which I thought was very thought-provoking.