On 25 April 2012, Dr Ruth Adams, Dr Hye-Kyung Lee and 45 CMCI students visited the DCMS for a Q&A session with Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture, Communications and the Creative Industries.
Students and staff quizzed the Minister on a variety of issues, from the nature and sources of UK creativity, the relationship between party politics and cultural policy and what the UK can learn from the cultural strategies of other countries and them from ours, to ways to increase diversity in the cultural sector, foster relevant skills sets and the relationship between broadband technology and content. Even the controversial proposal by the Institute of Economic Affairs that the DCMS be scrapped was raised, although quickly dismissed by the Minister who foresaw the expansion rather than the slashing of the Ministry.
Students did not shy away from addressing tricky issues relating to their own experiences. Questions were posed about increasingly stringent immigration policies, the high cost of student visas and university fees, and the problems of attracting overseas talent to the UK cultural sector when the minimum salary required to qualify for a work visa is considerably higher than the average entry level salary in the creative industries.
Although often put on the spot, the Minister answered every questions he was asked and demonstrated concern for some of the issues raised, while not straying very far from his Party’s line. He showed an evident interest in the programme and our diverse student body.
We have MA CCI student Cara Hepburn to thank for arranging this visit, and also Cara’s grandmother, a constituent of the Minister, who approached him after a Remembrance Day service at their local church, to ask if such a meeting might be possible.