ByÂ Abhishek Nayyar:
What exactly are the arts and humanities? In this age of megabytes and wireless technology, it’s easy to forget that the building blocks of what we see around us tend to be our histories, our art, our cultures and ourÂ literature. Study of the humanities/arts can be used to help people better understand and communicate with one another and be creative. It is obvious that the study of humanities/arts is not just a college course, but it is an ongoing process and practice in life. The humanities can first be used to understand the past which has created the present. The culture which we have was shaped by the past. Facts, findings, and literature of even thousands of years ago have influenced our world today. Knowing this past can allow people to understand our present; knowing how we came to this present helps us to communicate about it and the future.
The study of the humanities can also be used to realize differing interpretations of life and history. Studying facts of the past helps to understand literature of the past. Art reflects the cultures of the past, and shows how we achieved what we have today. Arts lower truancy rates because the arts engage students and a stronger work ethic because the arts demand repeated practice to master different skills. The arts aren’t just a vital part of the classroom they also shape entrepreneurs and companies. To support our point we have example of two companies driven by an artistic vision – Apple and Groupon.
Arts education provides a critical benefit to the private sector. To effectively compete in the global economy, business leaders are increasingly looking for employees who are creative, collaborative and innovative thinkers. A greater investment in the arts is an effective way to equip today’s students with the skills they will need to succeed in the jobs of tomorrow. The common and modern perception is that many of these subject areas do not qualify students for jobs, irrespective of the state of the economy or the labour market. The reality, however, is very different.
Graduates in the arts and humanities, particularly those from top universities or those with experience studying abroad, are still sought after by many employers around the world. Graduates in these areas tend to have extremely well developed transferable skills that serve them well in a variety of careers: skills such as analysis, verbal reasoning, a qualitative approach to issues and problems, language skills specific to their degree program and the ability to work unsupervised individually or in small groups. Specifically, an undergraduate degree in the arts and humanities can lead to graduate study, graduate research and a life of academia and teaching; more generally, with the exception of some particularly technical careers, the arts and humanities qualify you for most career paths.
According to the latest UK Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Survey 74.5 per cent of Arts and Humanities graduates were in employment or taking further study within six months of completing their degree. The future demand for artist and designer skills will depend on economic growth, changing patterns of demand and changing patterns of doing business (for example in technology). These are likely to result in a demand for new skills within the workforce. The interface with information and communication technologies is predicted to have a major impact on the media, art and design industries over the next ten years.
The audio-visual industry will be a key element in the emerging information and knowledge economy and there is an expected demand for people with web design and specific software applications skills. Not only are the humanities/Arts a third major area of inquiry; the object of study of the humanities/Arts is integral to the other two. Drawing from literature, History, Philosophy, Religion, Fine Arts and popular culture courses, the Humanities enables you to gain a greater self-understanding and appreciation of the diversity of human cultures and experiences.
As a Humanities graduate, you will be valued by leaders of the high-tech industry for your creativity and broad-based skills; ability to communicate, to sell, to relate and work as part of a team; intellectual curiosity and critical values. A recent survey of employers showed that the most important skill they seek in job candidates is the ability to communicate effectively, solve problems, be innovative and work in groups. These “soft skills” are often known as “employability skills,” the skills that make people effective on the job, and going by that, the field of Arts and Humanities seems to have a secure future.