A new survey of performing arts and crafts students by the arts charity Braidwood shows that there is a huge gap between the number of arts and arts-based jobs that are available and the amount of work that people in the arts and creative fields are doing.
The Braiderton Foundation report, which surveyed more than 100 students at the university in Bristol, found that just over one in 10 of the arts students were performing arts-related work, while just under half of the other students were working in other arts.
The gap in arts-and-craft work opportunities was particularly pronounced for young people, with just 14 per cent of students aged between 18 and 24 in the same group performing arts work, compared to 48 per cent in the general population.
There is also a strong gender divide.
Of the 12 arts and science students surveyed, just over half were performing in arts and the arts, compared with only 11 per cent for the general student population.
The survey also found that while students in the Arts and Creative Fields were far more likely to be working in arts than in other fields, this did not mean that students were being offered more opportunities in arts.
Only 3 per cent (26) of students in arts were performing as part of a full-time arts program, compared by 8 per cent who were working part-time in arts or arts-focused courses.
The same percentage (26%) of students performing arts in other areas were also doing so, but their numbers were significantly lower.
The research also revealed that there was a gap between those who had already done arts- and crafts work, but were not doing it well, and those who were already performing arts arts-intensive work.
In a further indication of the fact that many people are not performing arts at all, just 18 per cent said they were doing arts-like work in their daily lives, while 40 per cent reported they were performing art-like in the past month.
The report, by BraidWOOD, also found the average age of those who performed arts-style work was 22 years old, compared the average in the overall workforce of 27.
The findings come after the Arts Council of Great Britain announced in September that it was making changes to its policy to encourage and support people working in the performing arts to become more engaged with the profession.
It said that it wanted to create a more professional performing arts sector and that it is “building on our existing policies to help more young people who may not be able to perform arts in their own right”, and said that its current funding and support programmes are working.
“In recent years, there has been a great deal of progress in promoting the arts to young people in our community and to make the arts more accessible and accessible to more young adults,” it said in a statement.
“But it is not enough to just look at the arts; it is important that we also look at all the people who are making the arts available to young children and young people at large.”
The Arts Council also said it was committed to providing a more holistic and inclusive approach to supporting the arts in the UK, in particular in schools, and called for more evidence on the impact of arts education on the wellbeing of young people.
Braidwood has launched a £1 million fund to support young people and communities who have been impacted by the economic crisis and are now working towards achieving a more sustainable future for the arts.