U.K. report says Brexit could “threaten the international status” of its museums by blocking skilled European workers.
A report released on Thursday by a committee of the House of Lords concluded that Brexit could be perilous for British museums and other cultural institutions, potentially blocking skilled arts workers from coming into the country and causing a brain drain that could “threaten the international status of the U.K.’s world-class institutions.” The report lays out in stark terms how the separation of the United Kingdom from the European Union will cause cultural institutions to suffer, concluding with the following assessment:
Without effective reciprocal arrangements, the U.K. may see a decline in skilled cultural sector workers entering the U.K. from the E.U. Such a development would be to the detriment of the U.K. cultural sector, and represent a significant loss to the audiences that enjoy seeing talent from across Europe performing in the U.K.
Various cultural bodies contributed findings to the parliament’s report, which is titled “Brexit: Movement of People in the Cultural Sector.” It comes at a time when high-profile government departures have roiled Prime Minister Theresa May’s efforts to effectively roll out her government’s plan to separate from the E.U.—or may have killed the whole measure outright. The spectre of impending Brexit is already having negative effects on a number of sectors of the British economy, and there’s no reason to think that those associated with dance, theater, the visual arts, and other cultural forms will not be impacted as well. While The Art Newspapercites the U.K.’s culture department as saying that less than 5 percent of workers in museums and institutions are E.U. citizens, the Creative Industries Federation says this figure is an understatement, and Arts Council England says some large national museums employ workforces in which E.U. citizens account for as much as 15 percent of the total staff.