Arts Emergency

Here is the email I received earlier from Arts Emergency. They are not a big charity, but I believe what they do is important. Life should be about more than mere accountancy. If you feel bad about how things are at the moment you could do a lot worse than give money to Arts Emergency – – have a look see what they do, it matters.

“Dear Jack,
I am sending out two messages today; one to you, our members, and another to our students.

My message on behalf of Arts Emergency is short. And apologies in advance that I resist adopting the faux statesperson tone everyone else ppears to be doing today – there is much we don’t know about the impact this result will have on the lives of the young people we’re supporting, much we don’t know about the political terrain in coming months and years, and whether or not our movement survives that storm if very much down to you and me…

There is something I do know however, and that I want to tell you today having stewed all weekend on what’s going on. As an educated, generous, progressive, open minded, empowered and engaged person, it is YOU YOU YOU that gives reason to be hopeful right now.

I believe our cause is more vital than ever, more important than even I realised back in 2013 when establishing things. With what feels like a surge in nationalistic sentiment, and what appears to be a spike in hate crime and xenophobic and racist incidents, and more over, at a time when ‘experts’ are derided, fact is dismissed in favour of bellicose fiction and many are saying we’re entering the age of post-factual democracy – a liberal arts education, set within a broad, free and fair system accessible and comprehensible to ALL is more important than anything in the greater scheme of things.

Critical thinking, and all the associated skills obtained through the study of history, philosophy, sociology, languages, geography and media studies, help us dismantle bad arguments, they give us the weapons we need to kick back against the pricks, and decipher fact from fiction!

Creative thinking, and all the associated skills obtained through the study of art, performance, literature, music and film give us vision beyond the status quo, they help us not only imagine a better world, but give us the tool to share that vision with others. Perhaps more importantly at this worrying time, these subjects allow us to see into each other’s lives, to understand each other better, to bind us together through a shared understanding and in celebrating our differences, give us the empathy and communicative ability we need to protect, cherish and value one another.

We need open minds, open hearts, open borders and open arms and, if like me you are fearing that such things are a pipe dream I just want to urge you to look around you, look at the helpers in the many crisis aroudn the world, look in the mirror – because while our “leaders” appear to have committed a gross dereliction of duty, the duty we have as artists, thinkers, graduates is to our fellow citizens and our children.

I may be rambling, but I just know so many people are feeling the same as I do today, and I really want to hammer home just how much I think our cause at Arts Emergency matters right now – it may not be the loudest all action player on the pitch, but in all honesty, if we lose touch with all these things we’re set up to defend then we lose our very humanity. And I’m just not having it! Sure you feel the same too.

I’ve also written to you first, as the next email I’m writing is more difficult and I wanted to pump myself up a bit with this bombast. I’m writing to our young members – our mentoring participants and alumni, many of whom are people of colour or white wokring class kids from the poorest backgrounds, some too, have moved here from the EU at a young age, and are rightly very worried right now. I want to remind them all that regardless of their background, they are our future, that we believe in them and their ability to improve and beautify this world. Most importantly, I’m going to remind the that they have YOU, and me, and nearly 4000 others who they can count on in this confusing mess for solidarity, support, kindness and a very, very warm welcome wherever they go.


Have a good week, it’s sure to be very busy here, I’ll sign off and let’s all crack on with it! You will have one more email today – and that is all the requests our students and schools have submitted this month, so look out for that and reply if there is something in there you are placed to help them with.



Neil Griffiths
Co-founder, Arts Emergency”

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