Welcome to edition #2 of Inverted Magazine, and thank you for reading!
I find making the second of anything is often more intimidating than the first. The creator is forced to confront the idea that maybe their initial success, however small, was only a fluke. With two bodies of work to compare, how does the audience react and can we evolve in our work to make it better?
We only have to look as far as some of the icons featured in this edition to give us some reassurance to persist past the first hurdles.
Britney Spears turned herself from a potential one-hit wonder to a global megastar with a career spanning nine albums and two decades. Just last week Dua Lipa showed us all that she’s here to stay with her 80s throwback dance-fest of a sophomore album Future Nostalgia.
It may seem trivial to be talking about pop music during a global pandemic. And yet, if you were to look inside houses around the world right now, what else would you see us all turning to, but the arts?
As the world shuts down we turn to artists for comfort. We find our distraction, our solace, in music, TV, film and literature.
And yet, arts funding has consistently been decimated over the past ten years:
- Arts Council England finding was cut by a 30% less than 5 months into Cameron’s first term https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-11582070
- 68% of primary schools in England saw arts provisions decrease between 2014-2019 https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/the-government-is-outsourcing-education-arts-education_uk_5ca0eaaae4b0e4e4834dacb1
- A 2018 report found that 90% of secondary schools were cutting creative subjects https://www.thebookseller.com/news/bbc-report-reveals-cuts-creative-subjects-720461
- Local authority spending on cultural activities fell from from £3.25bn in 2009 to £2.17bn in 2016-17 https://inews.co.uk/culture/arts/brexit-triple-whammy-hitting-uk-arts-1bn-spending-cuts-labour-claims-512638
And the underappreciation of the arts is as much a cultural issue as it is a political one. Throughout my own time at university, I saw arts degrees being mocked time and time again, seen to be less valuable than science degrees. Ideas of gender also play into this: arts are deemed to be more feminine and frivolous than the concrete, manly sciences – and therefore less valuable to society. They are seen as less important, and forced to take up less space.
But all it takes is a scroll through social media to see the value in the arts. What are we all doing right now? What resources are we using?
In the UK we are immensely lucky to have access to such an astounding wealth of artistic content to keep us occupied. Surely millions of people would not be able to continue self-isolating without this entertainment. In this way, the arts are necessary for protecting public health in this time of crisis.
I suppose that you, a reader of an independent online magazine, probably already understand the value of creative production. And let me take this time to thank you as we push through the fear of a sophomore slump to publish our second edition.
But, before I finish, I have a plea for you.
Remember next time you watch Netflix until 3am because your first zoom meeting isn’t until midday. Remember next time you’re in the kitchen dancing to Madonna just for fun (this one is from personal experience). Remember next time you read a book before bed to distract you from a world burning around you.
In these times, remember that we do, in fact, need the arts.
Owen Atkinson, Features Editor