Well there it is. Great Britain has taken the decision to leave the European Union after months of bitter quarrelling, which has seen Labour’s usual strongholds go against their united Remain campaign and the Conservatives being completely split, resulting in David Cameron’s resignation as Prime Minister, soon after the result has been announced. For the majority of the British public, Brexit is seen as a victory and a chance to “Make Britain Great Again”. Whatever our thoughts are on this matter, we have to understand that this was a clear victory for the campaign and must respect them for that.
However for an individual like me, a dance student, the impact of the referendum now has the potential and likelihood to make a hugely negative impact upon us and the rest of the arts community. Firstly, from a personal perspective I have been incredibly lucky to have had the chance to make friendships, train with and be taught by artists from all around the European Union who have been generous enough to pass on their kindness, wisdom and knowledge and in the process making my life so much richer. They haven’t just helped me and others, but are hugely talented in their own right and I have sometimes thought “How on earth did I get on to the same course as this person? They’re incredible”. Many of my favourite people to go and watch have been from inside the European Union and because of our partnership with them, artists who have wanted to come and produce work and perform here haven’t had many problems. To these people I can only apologise profusely and assure them I, and many others, value them immensely and hope we can continue to collaborate.
Over the past week leading and well respected figures from the arts industry practically unanimously came out in favour of the Remain campaign, including Sir Simon Rattle (soon to return to Britain as the Musical Director of the London Symphony Orchestra) and Danny Boyle (director of the London Olympics 2012 Opening Ceremony). Alistair Spalding, the chief executive of Sadler’s Wells, which is well known as ‘The Home of Dance’ and host to a plethora of international talent, stated “There would be the nightmare of visa and work permit applications that we have to do. It is less complex for countries in the EU but that would all be thrown up in the air…. I don’t think people really understand what a nightmare it is. Leaving Europe, for our business, it’s bad”. Another negative impact could be felt in the area of funding for the arts. Up till this point companies and organisations have been able to apply from arts funding from within the EU. Less than two years ago, The Creative Europe Fund was set up by the European Union in order to “support the cultural, creative and audio-visual industries” with a grant of €1.46 billion – yet we may no longer be able to access this, which would be another huge blow.
However we can’t let this referendum tear apart the people of Great Britain. There’s no way back now, the doors been locked and the keys thrown away. We must stick together whatever the consequences – which hopefully will turn out for the best.
Harry Fulleylove (18)