"Without creatives, society would be lost"

Sussex student Jenny Bathurst has been writing for us about pandemic life since lockdown began back in March.
Jenny BathurstJenny Bathurst
Jenny Bathurst

The pandemic robbed her of the chance to sit A levels. But she ended up with three As and is now studying journalism at the University of Brighton (Eastbourne campus).

Here is her latest contribution.

"This week I think that I have spent more hours staring at my laptop screen than I have with actual human beings. Aside from intervals of aimlessly staring out of the window and replying to messages on my phone, it feels as if the moment I tick one task off my to-do list, I then must add three more. I treasure delirious daily chats over cake with friends on my course, as we try and dissect what tasks we still need to complete and when by. And so, my degree has begun. I can imagine you are wondering why you are reading a teenager’s complaining account of a degree that she has chosen to study for, but understand that I know why I am doing this and what an investment it is.

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"Journalism is a subject that I am hugely passionate about, and no matter how many academic journals I have scanned in the past twenty-four hours I am certain that this is still a career I wish to pursue. As the workload is proving, this won’t be easy but how can one expect it to be. Now is a very bizarre time to enter the industry, with some papers sadly being forced to cease publishing and others not presenting a front page without at least one reference to the pandemic since the beginning of this year. As I have made clear, I know what I want to do with my future and I would be devastated if this couldn’t come to fruition. But for thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, their dream career is being snatched away from them.

"Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s statement that those who make a living from the arts industry “should retrain and find other jobs” has caused a major stir on social media, and naturally so. I don’t believe that the government are issuing this instruction in an attempt to kill the arts, but I can only imagine how it must feel to be told that years of training and determination is now completely useless. As an ardent musical theatre lover, even I feel upset by Sunak’s comments, as if there is little to no hope left for the performing arts to return. Yes, this pandemic has grown more than most of us would have ever expected, but is it not simply pessimistic and defeatist to suggest that this is the end for good? Without creatives, society would be lost.

"Although not specific to the arts sector, the clothes I am wearing and the laptop I am typing this on were all crafted by people who use their creativity to make a living. Every piece of music I listen to and television programme I watch showcases hours of tireless work invested by hundreds. It is easy to warn people that their industry is in trouble, but to imply that there is no way out has been incredibly damaging, and the creatives who have flocked to social media has testified this is true. I do not wish to disrespect the government and I appreciate the uncertainty that this time must bring for all politicians. But there must be another way."