CLA Strategy Group publishes Social Justice Statement

05 September 2018

As part of our commitment to champion the right of every child to the arts and culture, a key CLA focus for the academic year 2018-2019 will be on social justice.

During this 12-month period we will

  • Publish a Social Justice Statement (see below)
  • Produce a timetable of key advocacy and policy moments through the year to ensure that knowledge is shared and that connections are made
  • Continue to provide materials that enable us – education, arts and cultural sectors – to speak with one voice about the right of every child to this work
  • Produce resources that illustrate the significant inequalities that exist in our society around who has access to arts and culture, including the latest in our series of Briefing Papers:
    • Arts in Schools (5 September 2018)
    • Arts and Social Justice (autumn/winter 2018)

Social Justice Statement

The Cultural Learning Alliance champions a right to arts and culture for every child.  

Every child should have access to the benefits that arts and culture bring.

Equality of access to arts and culture is the right of every child and should be unaffected by income, ethnicity, gender, disability or location. This is a social justice issue: research shows that children with an arts deficit are disadvantaged educationally and economically while their more fortunate peers – generally from more affluent backgrounds – are more resilient, healthier, do better in school, are more likely to vote, to go to university, to get a job and to keep it. Participation in the arts fuels social mobility.

Children who feel ownership of the arts also feel more confident in their ability to create, challenge and explore; they learn to participate not just in arts activities but within society. Access to the arts is access to our national life.  

There is a wealth of detailed evidence to show that studying the arts fosters creativity, innovation, empathy, and resilience, and that the arts enrich young lives, making them happier and healthier. The arts also give children the skills needed in a labour market that places an increasingly high premium on creativity.

The UK’s children do not have equal access to arts and culture. We must work together – policy makers, schools, teachers, artists and cultural organisations – to ensure that every child and young person experiences a broad and balanced curriculum that enables them to fulfil their potential. Otherwise the arts will continue to be the preserve of those who can afford them.

Signed by the Cultural Learning Alliance Strategy Group, 5 September 2018:

Derri Burdon, Chief Executive, Curious Minds
Matt Griffiths (Chair)CEO, Youth Music
Wayne Norrie, Chief Executive, Greenwood Academies Trust
Jacqui O’Hanlon, Director of Education, Royal Shakespeare Company
Ray Oudkerk, Assistant Principal for Performing Arts, The BRIT School
Joan Parr, Head of Creative Learning and Young People, Creative Scotland


For evidence and references see:

Cultural Learning Alliance (2018) Employability and Enterprise Briefing Paper

Cultural Learning Alliance (2018) Arts, Health and Wellbeing Briefing Paper

Cultural Learning Alliance (2017) Key Research Findings


CLA Social justice statement references