Britain's Cultural World Mobilizes against Brexit

282 British artists signed a call against Great Britain going out of the European Union, which would be a danger for creation

May 30th, 2016

The actors Benedict Cumberbatch, Jude Law or Helena Bonham Carter, the directors Danny Boyle and Sam Talyor-Johnson, the writer John Le Carré all call for the UK to stay in the EU and not to become “an outsider shouting from the wings”.

The call has been organized by the association Britain Stronger Europe and is supported by the Prime Minister David Cameron. The artists come from very different horizons but they all insist on the necessity for Britain’s culture to remain within the EU. “From the smallest gallery to the biggest blockbuster, many of us have worked on projects that would never have happened without vital EU funding or by collaboration across borders”

It is not only the financial aspect of culture maintaining the UK in the EU that those artists defend, but also the fact Europe enriches Britain. “Britain is not just stronger in Europe, it is more imaginative and more creative, and our global creative success would be severely weakened by walking away”, the artists wrote in the open letter. They add, “From Bard to Bowie, British creativity inspires and influences the rest of the world. We believe that being part of the EU bolsters Britain’s leading role on the world stage”.

With that call signed by such an important number of famous artists, the campaign for keeping Britain in the UK hopes to go beyond the economics argument and show the benefits of cultural cooperation between the UK and its European neighbours.

In addition to the 282 artists who signed the letter, a survey led by Creative Industries Federation shows that 96% of members of the sector want to remain in Europe. John Kampfner, the Chief executive of the Federation, said: “our members have sent a clear signal about the importance of EU membership for the continued success of the UK’s fastest-growing sector”. Indeed, the creative industry counts for more than £84 billion in Britain’s economy.

The leave campaign also has few artists on its side, such as the actor Michael Craine and the singer of the Who, Roger Daltry. The Brexit campaign can count on the cultural front with a major support, John Whittingale, Secretary of State for Culture since 2015.

The impact of this call by famous British artists however is uncertain. In 2014, JK Rowling, the Harry Potter saga author, tried to convince Scots to vote in the referendum to stay in the UK but met scepticism and hostility.



Cultural Diplomacy News
Gaspard Fontaine, CD News Team