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On The Table Read Magazine, “the best arts magazine in the UK“, Art Bytes founder Lucy Byrne shares why a creative education is essential for young people in today’s society.
In a way not seen since the dawn of the industrial revolution, artificial intelligence (AI) is disrupting the global labour market and millions of jobs are set to become obsolete. Art gallery founder Lucy Byrne believes that this is why offering young people a creative education is more important than ever. As well as positively impacting mental health, confidence and well being, Lucy states that the creative arts open up multiple career possibilities for those who stand on the threshold of adulthood in a rapidly evolving world.
In 2020, The World Economic Forum predicted 85 million jobs could be replaced by AI by 2025. In a report in March this year, Goldman Sachs suggests that figure could rise to as many as 300 million full-time jobs worldwide. Another report, from consultancy firm PwC, found that 30% of jobs here in the UK were potentially under threat, putting more than 10 million UK workers at risk of being replaced by automation within 15 years.
Among the sectors most likely to be affected are wholesale and retail, manufacturing, administrative and support services and transport. Telecoms giant BT has already announced plans to cut 55,000 jobs by the end of the decade, replacing around 10,000 of those with AI.
In the future, knowledge will be a commodity so we need to shift our thinking on how we skill and upskill future generations. Creative and critical thinking will be highly valued, as will emotional intelligence.
-Jon Andrews, the head of technology and investments at PwC.
Lucy has long been aware of the critical importance of adapting quickly to technological change and that skills aren’t just for the now, they need to be future-proof. By encouraging critical thinking, we can create a new generation of young people who can adapt quickly to technological and societal advancements in the future.
We’d do well to recall we saw similar disruption to the labour market in the 1990s with the introduction of the World Wide Web. The internet not only changed the world in terms of how we communicate and operate as a society, but it created a new economy and altered the jobs and labour market forever. It presented jobs in web and software development, design, data science, cybersecurity… and the list goes on and on.
So what we must do now is look at the opportunities these latest advancements in AI may present, especially to young people with their entire careers ahead of them. We must consider the skills that will be relevant to the jobs market in years to come – creative and tactical thinking, problem solving, and interpersonal skills – the sort of soft skills that can be developed and enhanced through creative learning.
Jobs that require human input and intervention and that cannot be easily replaced by AI will be in demand – jobs in customer care, for example, jobs in marketing, research and innovation. And it will create new jobs too. I read that around 65% of children still in education are likely to end up in jobs that don’t exist today. Let’s remember, as remarkable as AI art generators are, they could not and would not exist without human-made images.
We have a responsibility in this rapidly changing environment to support and equip young people with the skills to do the jobs machines cannot – and I firmly believe that creative learning has a vital role to play here. The creative industries contributed £115.9bn in GVA to the UK economy in 2019, which is greater than aerospace, automotive, life sciences and oil and gas sectors combined. The World Economic Forum lists creativity as the third most in demand skill by employers in 2020, up seven places from 2010.
In Lucy’s own city of Liverpool the Baltic Triangle – which little more than a decade ago was a collection of empty and derelict dock warehouses – has been transformed into a creative and digital powerhouse. There are now hundreds of people working in creative and digital businesses in the Baltic District. It shows what is possible if we encourage creativity in young people.
Lucy believes that employers do have a responsibility to look beyond university grades and more towards the value of creative thinking and approaches. Now is an ideal time to harness those soft skills and life experiences that cannot be taught in colleges and universities and cannot be mimicked or replaced by AI.
Dot-Art and Art Bytes
Lucy Byrne is the founder of dot-art, an independent art gallery in Liverpool. One of its core aims is to champion creativity in schools through an expertly-developed programme of inclusive and impactful projects and initiatives.
In 2022 Lucy launched Art Bytes – a national EdTech programme that utilises a bespoke, immersive, virtual gallery, to give young participants the opportunity to see their art exhibited online and engage with new technology from the safety and convenience of their own home or school.
Designed to build confidence and nurture talent, Art Bytes allows children and young people to see galleries as places “for them” and encourages future cultural engagement. The competition is open to all primary (year 5), secondary (year 9) and SEN schools across England and is taking applicants now for next year.
This year 71 schools took part submitting almost 1,200 artworks and more than 3,500 votes were cast to decide the winners.
On Wednesday (7 June) the young entrants’ work was commended through a series of events in prestigious cultural venues across England. Families, teachers and students came together to congratulate winners and participants and celebrate their work.
Art Bytes is a national EdTech programme that utilises a bespoke, immersive, virtual gallery, to give young participants the opportunity to see their art exhibited online and engage with new technology from the safety and convenience of their own home or school. It builds confidence and nurtures talent, allows children and young people to see galleries as places “for them” and encourages future cultural engagement.
After a shortlisting panel and an online public vote, the winning artist from each school sees their work displayed in our virtual gallery. Art Bytes culminates every June with a celebration event at a high-profile cultural venue in each of the nine regions of England, which is also available to schools to stream in the classroom or assembly. Regional and national winners are announced, certificates and prizes are presented, and the virtual gallery goes live.
Find more from Art Bytes now:
The competition is open to all primary (year 5), secondary (year 9) and SEN schools across England.
You can find more information on this years’ winners and participants here.
To register a young person for Art Bytes 2024 visit https://artbytes.co.uk/registration/
See: https://artbytes.co.uk/ for more information.
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