Looks like Education Minister Sam Birmingham really screwed the pooch when he decided to write off all creative careers as “lifestyle choices” earlier this month, with Australia’s creative community responding en masse with two middle fingers raised in his general direction.
Using a press release as his soapbox, Birmingham basically argued that arts diplomas won’t lead to gainful employment, and therefore shouldn’t be subsidised by the government anymore.
“Currently there are far too many courses that are being subsidised that are used simply to boost enrolments, or provide ‘lifestyle’ choices, but don’t lead to work,” he said, making a case for the Coalition’s new employment outcome-focused VET student loans scheme and the 478 creative courses that are about to be gutted from Labor’s previous model.
“We have ensured that all agriculture, engineering or related technologies, information technology and natural and physical science courses remain on the new course list recognising the national importance of agriculture and STEM jobs as we transition to the 21st century economy,” Birmingham said.
In this “21st century economy” he’s talking about, only 20 per cent of the previously subsidised arts courses will receive government funding.
And given the countless hours, dollars and sleepless nights injected into their
work lifestyle choices, many of our nation’s artists haven’t taken too kindly to the MP’s phrasing, taking the Education Minister to task on his apparent disregard for arts education.
And now if you’ll excuse us, we need to get back to our
work lifestyle choices here at Music Feeds.
UPDATE 27/10/16: Montaigne has released a statement in response to Minister Birmingham’s comments. Catch it below.
Gang Of Youths
Speaking with Music Feeds, Gang Of Youths say to Minister Birmingham:
“Everything is a lifestyle choice, Simon. Becoming a member of parliament is no more or less part of the cultural capitalist hegemony than deciding to utilise one’s skill in commerce to sell fruit by the side of the road; yet one is done in earnest as a transaction between consumer and merchant and the other is predicated on obscure and theoretical constructions and power structures. The guy selling fruit is the former. You are the latter.”
KUČKA tells Music Feeds:
“A creative career is not only just a lifestyle choice, it’s my full time business. I have to work on it every single day just like people who go to the office. Yes, creating music is a passion, but in order to be successful you need to learn a lot about the business side of things.”
Here’s what Tuka had to say on Facebook:
Speaking with Music Feeds, Skegss say:
“What a fucking dog. So the minister has no paintings in his house and doesn’t listen to any music? Nice one to the education minister.”
Montaigne tells Music Feeds:
“Art is the very reason for which we exist, and the most compelling piece of evidence for empathy between humanity. Stories are nutrients which develop muscular imaginations and robust compassion. They give us a sense of identity, crucial to keeping us sane and alive. To choke those who create stories through art is to limit our capacity to see beauty in this world, is to strip our children of an imaginative life, is to kill our desire to be alive. Amongst many other things. Imagination is the reason why we humans are so advanced, and it’s utter stupidity to ever want to limit that.”