RCS Fair Access Plenary

Poverty and Under-Representation of Working-Class People in the Arts

This week Fair Access staff, which includes the WACI team, had the opportunity to attend the Fair Access Plenary. This is an event that regularly happens within the Royal Conservatoire where issues relating to fair access and widening participation can be discussed with guest speakers.

On Tuesday 11 February the topic was poverty and under-representation of working-class people in the arts where we heard from guest speakers Fiona Evans, an award-winning playwright whose work has been produced in the UK and abroad and best known for her play Scarborough, James Price, a screenwriter and filmmaker from Springburn who taught himself how to write scripts in his teens, recently nominated for Best Short Film at the 2019 Edinburgh International Film Festival for his latest film Boys Night and Laura E Waddell, a writer, publisher and speaker who believes in finding new ways to connect modern audiences with books and supporting and encouraging writers and artists from marginalised communities.

Hosted by the RCS Fair Access Manager, Jesse Paul, they shared their experiences and discussed the barriers that need addressing in order to create better support for those entering the arts from working-class backgrounds.

They spoke knowledgeably about how lack of money can have a negative impact on learning experiences, asked the audience to consider why people make assumptions about the kind of work working-class artists want to make and offered provocations about working-class identities and the role institutions need to play in welcoming working-class students in – suggesting that outreach and working-class role models were helpful ways to locate talented new artists.