CMU School of Drama

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Arts internships are London-centric and a barrier to diversity - think tank

News | The Stage: Internships in the creative industries are too London-centric and act as a ‘barrier’ to social mobility, according to a report from the Institute for Public Policy Research think tank.

It recommended that undergraduates should carry out a university-approved undergraduate internship, prioritising disadvantaged students “who are less likely to have the necessary social and financial capital to find a good-quality internship”, and called for placements lasting longer than four weeks to be banned.


Simone Schneeberg said...

I think that the arts are one of those weird industries where it is the most possible for someone of a minority or disadvantaged background to make it big and be super successful, but at the same time is very thinly populated by those people. All it really takes is a good, creative idea and enough people to listen to it and to fund it and you're on your way in the creative industries (at least on the more artistic side). Art is often inherent in people, so those without access to rigorous training can still make it far if they have it in them. The problem is the arts really aren't sustainable unless you are self sustainable for that (usually long) period of time before you make it big (or just enough). It doesn't surprise me that arts internships are so heavily populated by those with the money and privileged to spend the necessary time on little to no pay and long and/or odd hours that restrict taking up other jobs to bridge the gap.

Angel Zhou said...

I’m slightly confused as to if this article is saying that arts internships in London are lacking diversity in participants or if it is saying that a large majority of arts internships are in London and do not have a diverse population. The article does mention that “within the creative industries – which the report defines as including information, communication, arts, entertainment, and recreation – three quarters of internships are only offer in London”. Not only is there a grammatical error in this statement, it would have been very helpful if the article could have provided a link to the report it based its entire argument on. I find it slightly hard to believe that the amalgamation of internships within all of these “creative industries” are almost solely in London – are these limited to paid internships? But, it seems unlikely that they are limiting their report to paid internships, since the article talks about how these specific job prospects are hard to financially support.

As for the content of the article regarding the financial impact on diversity within arts internships, I can’t help but to agree. I have found for a long time that the arts are underappreciated and underfunded. While people within technology make thousands a month per internship, those in the arts find a couple hundred a week with housing provided to be a solid deal. So, only the wealthy can afford to support a child who wishes to pursue arts. Unfortunately, with the way that politics is appearing to head on a national and global scale, I’m not too sure that this issue will be addressed anytime soon.

Sarah Boyle said...

Of course the arts industry advertising the most internships, unpaid internships cost less than hiring someone. (Hence the significantly lower job vacancy number.) I can also agree with the presence of a lack of ethnic and economy diversity. In particular, economic diversity, since those internships, I would imagine, are often unpaid. However, I have personally never heard of someone going to London for an internship. Is that a thing I am not aware of? IS the author of this article just giving an example of where this trend was the worst? And since this is a discussion of London and not London, what is included in not London? The rest of the UK, the UK and the US, western nations, the world? This is definitely not an article that I would discuss with someone later, because the conclusions are obvious and the evidence is confusing and not given enough context to be usable.

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