Investing in the creative industries isn’t just about making money or new technologies, it’s about living together in a better society.
It was said that in the Roman Empire, what people wanted was bread and circuses. They wanted to eat and they wanted to be entertained and to share cultural experiences.
We’ve got amazing stories in UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) about bread (look at our food programme!) but we also need to talk about circuses – the cultural environment in which we live is part of our foundation. Everyone needs not just the basics of life. They also need to live that life communally and have things to share and discuss.
As a historian, I look at the way people live together. I look at the rituals they have and the way they engage, and I see deep commonalities.
I see societies that have invested in culture are strong and resilient. It’s what keeps them alive and fresh. There’s a chilling effect when that goes. Totalitarianism tends to have very limited and narrow views on what culture can do, and these are societies that tend not to last very long.
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