A group of creatives, including Greg Davies, Nish Kumar, Laura Mvula and Keith Chapman, have backed a university campaign aimed at reassuring students that creative subjects are just as important as STEM degrees. The Creative Sparks campaign titled ‘MadeAtUni’ is being launched on behalf of Universities UK, a group representing vice-chancellors in the UK.
MadeAtUni is described as ‘a new campaign to bring to life the impact of universities up and down the country of people, lives, and communities,’ which celebrates the contribution of universities to the UK’s creative excellence.
The campaign video, narrated by DJ Greg James, lists the video game Grand Theft Auto, Stormzy’s Glastonbury set, and the co-writer of 1917 all as ‘just some of the creativity emerging from UK universities, where ideas flourish and innovation happens.’
In a piece written for The Times, Chapman (the creator of Bob the Builder) explained that while the UK government talks about science being a priority, this ‘should not be at the expense of creative and arts subjects,’ deeming it ‘a big mistake’ to overlook creativity.
In his eyes, creativity is ‘arguably the most important skill you can encourage in young people,’ and it was his time at Great Yarmouth College of Art and Design that opened the door to his first job working in TV. This led him to create his own shows such as Bob the Builder, Fifi and the Flowertots, and Paw Patrol. Shows that have brought ‘joy and happiness to generations of young children.’
Before Covid-19 hit, the UK’s creative industries were worth over £115 billion a year, and Chapman is quick to point out that our economic recovery ‘depends on creative success,’ which is why he has lent his support to the Universities UK’s MadeAtUni Creative Sparks campaign.
Vital for the future
Chapman finished off my writing: ‘If the UK government wants to continue talking up Bob the Builder, Harry Potter, and Peppa Pig, they must show they understand how important creative courses are to their success.’
The Department for Education said: ‘We remain wholly committed to driving up standards and educational excellence across all subjects and disciplines, including the arts and creative subjects, ensuring that learners gain the skills they need to achieve better employment outcomes.’
Jasmine Sandhar, an English and History student at the University of Birmingham told us that her creative degree allows her to ‘have freedom of expression.’
‘I think a lot of people often discredit arts and humanities degrees because they’re not vocational, they don’t appear to have any material worth, but I think what a lot of people forget is the transferability of the skills that you learn through a humanities degree,’ Sandhar said.