From remainers to retainers – Brexit's impact on culture and education

EFA - Culture committee considers Brexit

The implications of Brexit for culture and education were the focus of a hearing of the European Parliament's Culture Committee this week.

MEPs heard evidence from a number of expert speakers including Eluned Haf, Head of Wales Arts International, invited at the initiative of Plaid Cymru MEP Jill Evans, to give a Welsh perspective on the implications of Brexit for the creative sector.

The focus was on three areas of potential impact, namely people and citizenship; European programmes; and, the creative and wider economy.

In her remarks, Ms Haf talked of a situation where those in the sector had voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU and were devastated at the result.

However the result was accepted, and she spoke of the cultural sector moving from being 'remainers to retainers', wanting to retain as far as possible all of the benefits that the EU offers for cultural cross-border collaboration as the UK leaves.

She remarked: "So many aspects of the cultural sectors across Europe are intertwined and inter dependent.  So unpicking them can feel like untying the tapestry of Bayeux.. and whatever one thinks of the narrative of the canvass itself, its cultural value transcends centuries and reminds us of the need to work together for peace and prosperity."

She concluded hopefully: "But whilst I personally may fear for my children’s future in terms of the cultural misunderstanding that is prevalent locally and globally ….  I remain hopeful that given the opportunity, their generation will do things differently.  The sector that I care so much about offers part of the solution in that it nurtures hope, authenticity, and an understanding that reaches across boundary and division. Culture and creativity matter to us all. And that’s another reason to get this right."