Salford arts workers are furious at a government advert which encourages artistic performers to retrain for careers in different sectors.
The advert, which depicts a ballet dancer lacing up her shoes with the text “Fatima’s next job could be in cyber. (she just doesn’t know it yet)”, has sparked a huge response on Twitter with over two thousand tweets in response pointing out that the cultural sector contributes billions to the British economy.
Professional performance and practices MA student at the University of Salford, Hannah Jade Lucas, called the advert “absolutely awful” and feels that the advert undermines the Salford arts. She said:
“I believe that the arts sector is always portrayed as ‘a glorified hobby’ when in reality it takes so much time, money and dedication to take this hobby into a profession – this advert does not help this misconception.
“Especially when in lockdown everyone relied so much on platforms that are from the arts (Netflix).”
When asked about what the government should be doing instead, Ms Lucas continues to say that the Government should encourage performers “to continue our training and stay positive in these difficult times.”
Annie Peach, who also studies professional performance and practices MA at the university of Salford called the advert a “joke”. She said:
“Every artist I know has already had to go against the stigma made by society that the creative industry isn’t as important as other industries
“Yet at the beginning of lockdown when we’re all cooped up in our houses, what uplifted people/brought everyone together virtually? The arts.”
However, culture secretary Oliver Dowden wants to reassure performers that the “Fatima” advert is part of a larger campaign “encouraging people from all walks of life” to retrain in cybersecurity.
He goes on to say that “£1.57bn” will instead be invested back into the arts.
To those tweeting re #Fatima
This is not something from @DCMS & I agree it was crass
This was a partner campaign encouraging people from all walks of life to think about a career in cyber security
I want to save jobs in the arts which is why we are investing £1.57bn
— Oliver Dowden (@OliverDowden) October 12, 2020