Brexit. While my laptop still autocorrects it to Brett, Brexit has fallen into common vocabulary over the past few months. Britains decision to leave the European Union today has paved a bleak future, economically speaking, with the pound dropping at an unprecedented speed. In bleak economic turmoil, the first to lose out, time and time again, is the arts. How do museums, museum workers, and aspiring museum workers, remain positive in what could be an Orwellian dystopia? This brilliant, as ever, post by the Museum Association has addressed just that. “It remains to be seen what the impact of leaving the EU will be on culture and museums. There has been an immediate economic fall-out and that could have consequences for the sector.”
1. Don’t panic. All is not lost. While Europe did fund the arts to a considerable degree, not every penny of funding is lost. There will still be museums, still with free admission, there will still be jobs, there will still be well paid jobs. Despite my immediate response of panic, we must not panic.
2. Maybe there will even be more jobs than the pre-brexit world. As said by the Museums Association’s director, museums will become increasingly important, increasingly necessary. Britain has become a divided country, divided on the debate of immigration. The museum sector works with a mission to unite communities, unite diversities, and engage with minority groups in an inclusive and constructive way. This mission hasn’t been as necessary in my lifetime, perhaps not even in my parents lifetime. Under a pro-remain government, this mission cannot be ignored.
3. While I remain a remain voter, perhaps Britain will prosper out of Europe. Not economically prosper, at least for the foreseeable future. But perhaps Britain will culturally prosper out of Europe. Although this seems a oxymoron, the debate has only just begun. What began as a primarily political and economic debate, Brexit has opened a world of debates about values. What does Britain value: Tolerance. Compassion. Inclusion. What do museums value: tolerance, compassion, inclusion. I see plenty more exhibitions such as Call Me By My Name in museums’ future.
This is the time for museums and cultural institutions to step up, to heal the wounds Brexit has formed, to unite the divisions. I woke up this morning gloomy at the prospects of my career path. But perhaps, and yes it’s a long stretch, this is one of the most exciting and inspiring moments to work in a museum.